Nearly Half of All High Fructose Corn Syrup Products Contain Toxic Mercury

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toxic mercury

A shocking new study published in Environmental Health concludes that roughly half of all processed foods with High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) may be contaminated with toxic mercury, a heavy metal that can cause damage to the brain and nervous system and is particularly hazardous when consumed by children and pregnant women. Mercury exposure in the womb and early life can cause developmental disorders, attention deficits, learning disabilities, deafness, blindness, mental retardation, and cerebral palsy.

HFCS has been used as a sweetener by food manufacturers since the early 1980s and is frequently used in processed foods such as sodas, sauces, ketchup, salad dressings, cakes, candies, breads, and cereals, among others. The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) (iatp.org), the consumer group responsible for the study, reported that nine out of 20 HFCS products tested were positive for mercury.

Americans ingest an average of 12 tablespoons of HFCS daily, according to The Washington Post (WashigntonPost.com), and teens may consume up to 22 tablespoons of HFCS per day. Considering the serious health risks associated with the consumption of mercury, IATP is imploring the Food and Drug Administration to enact immediate regulations to protect consumers from the threat of mercury contamination in processed foods.

The antiquated mercury cell manufacturing process some companies use for separating the sugary corn starch from corn kernels involves mercury-grade caustic soda, which is manufactured in chlorine plants that have left mercury residue in the product after utilizing a chlor-alkali process. Food manufacturers can eliminate the mercury threat by choosing HFCS that has been processed in a more holistic and updated manner.

IATP has published a list of HFCS products that tested positive for mercury in its study. At the top of the list is Quaker Oatmeal to Go, which had a whopping 350 mercury parts per trillion (ppt). Second in line was Heinz’s Jack Daniels Barbeque Sauce, which contained mercury in the amount of 300 ppt. Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, Kraft Original Barbeque Sauce, and Nutri-Grain Strawberry Cereal Bars were close behind in mercury content.

You may access and download the complete list at Iowa.SierraClub.org.

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