US researchers find traces of toxic mercury in high-fructose corn syrup

• Mercury linked to learning disabilities and heart disease

• Study published in peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health

A swig of soda or bite of a candy bar might be sweet, but a new study suggests that food made with corn syrup also could be delivering tiny doses of toxic mercury.

For the first time, researchers say they have detected traces of the silvery metal in samples of high-fructose corn syrup, a widely used sweetener that has replaced sugar in many processed foods. The study was published yesterday in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health.
Eating high-mercury fish is the chief source of exposure for most people. The new study raises concerns about a previously unknown dietary source of mercury, which has been linked to learning disabilities in children and heart disease in adults.

The source of the metal appears to be caustic soda and hydrochloric acid, which manufacturers of corn syrup use to help convert corn kernels into the food additive.

A handful of plants across the US still make the soda and acid by mixing a briny solution in electrified vats of mercury. Some of the toxic metal ends up in the final product, according to industry documents cited in the study.

Corn syrup manufacturers insisted their products are mercury-free. But the study noted that at least one maker of caustic soda that has used the mercury-based technology listed the corn syrup industry as a client.

“This seems like an avoidable source of mercury that we didn’t know was out there,” said David Wallinga, one of the study’s co-authors and a researcher at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a Minnesota-based advocacy group.

The researchers cautioned that their study was limited. Only 20 samples were analyzed; mercury was detected in nine.

Still, the impact of the findings could be significant. High-fructose corn syrup has become such a staple in processed foods that the average American consumes about 12 teaspoons of it daily, according to federal estimates. Teenagers and young children tend to eat more of it than adults.
There is no established safe dose for elemental mercury, the type discovered in corn syrup. But the US Environmental Protection Agency says an average-sized woman should limit her exposure to 5.5 micrograms a day of methylmercury, the kind found in fish.

If that same woman regularly ate corn syrup contaminated at the highest level detected in the study – 0.57 micrograms per gram – the researchers estimated that she could end up consuming an amount of mercury that is five times higher than the EPA’s safe dose.

One former EPA scientist who reviewed the paper said more study is needed to establish the risk, if any, posed by contaminated corn syrup. She urged the Food and Drug Administration to conduct a review of food made with the sweetener.

“For the most part, previous studies haven’t found mercury in foods other than fish,” said Kathryn Mahaffey, a former EPA scientist who co-wrote a landmark report to Congress on the perils of mercury contamination. “Is this an outlier or something we didn’t know about before?”

In response to a 2005 Chicago Tribune series about mercury hazards, then-senator Barack Obama introduced legislation that would force chlorine plants to phase out its use or shut down. One plant in Wisconsin later vowed to switch to a mercury-free process by this year, leaving four others – in Georgia, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia – that still use the older technology.

The new study’s lead author, Renee Dufault, began her research while investigating the Wisconsin plant for the FDA in the mid-2000s. But her results weren’t published until now, a year after she retired from the agency.

An FDA spokesman said he still was waiting for a response to the study. Industry representatives, meanwhile, said the study was outdated.

“It is important that Americans are provided accurate, science-based information,” Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, said in a statement. “They should know that high-fructose corn syrup is safe.”

In another statement, the Chlorine Institute said: “It is conceivable that measurable mercury content can be found in high-fructose corn syrup regardless of how it is processed.”


And more coverage from the U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT:

Mercury in high fructose corn syrup affects many of the most popular foods in America, including yogurt, soda, candy, juice and jelly. Even a small amount of it can be seriously unhealthy.

“Mercury is toxic in all its forms,” said IATP’s David Wallinga, M.D., and a co-author in both studies. “Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply.”

The Corn Refiners Association is disputing the results of the study, but a watchdog group’s study turned up similar results. More research is needed to determine exactly which foods are affected, but some of the foods tested were from the brands Hershey’s, Quaker, Hunt’s, Manwich, Smucker’s, Kraft, Nutri-Grain, and Yoplait. We’ve already read that high fructose corn syrup can contribute to obesity and diabetes. With this recent scare, will people take a turn away from processed foods to more natural eating habits? Or have processed foods become an irreplaceable part of the American diet?

Dr. Martin’s Comments:

Wait! There’s more to the story, also revealed in US NEWS & WORLD REPORT, “Reports have also come out that the FDA knew about traces of the toxic substances and sat on the information.” You may recall that the FDA is the government agency that we, as taxpayers, generously fund to assure our food is safe. This lack of accountability should infuriate every American……and where are those plants across America cooking up those “briny solutions in electrified vats of mercury”? What about the health of their employees? The neighborhood? And most importantly—what about the destruction of health of everyone who has unknowingly consumed these mercury-contaminated products for years?

I can’t imagine more convincing proof that the food industry has complete disregard for your health. Is it any wonder obesity, diabetes, heart disease, immune breakdown, nervous system disorders and more have reached epidemic proportions?

What’s The Moral of the Story?

Your health is under constant attack by hidden toxins in your food, water and air, causing faster aging, disease, and damage to your entire body, day in and day out……..and your government does not care enough to stop the madness!

Remind Yourself of this Important Truth Everyday

As you look at the food you’re eating, the household products and personal care products you use, (and have used in years past) you can easily see the connection between your toxic world and the mass breakdowns in health.

What Does This Mean to You?

Do you eat a perfect diet? Frankly, I’m puzzled how anyone could these days. The fact is, most of us do not eat perfectly pure foods and that’s why it’s crucial to have NUTRITION WELLNESS CENTER help you find out if dangerous poisons like mercury could be blocking you from feeling great. Defending against the toxic onslaught is taking the smart step to start feeling better now and to resist unnecessary illness and breakdowns in health.

The Simple Truth Is This

I’m willing to personally guarantee we will do everything in our power to help you feel your best and overcome your health challenges. But if getting well or staying well are not truly important to you—please do not read any further. We focus our efforts on those people who’ve decided they want to feel great and get symptoms out of their way.

Here’s Some Really Good News

When people get poisons like mercury out of their body using our nutritional detoxification program……they’ve noticed amazing changes. Many people report they think more clearly, their memory improves, moods and outlooks brighten……….and the physical symptoms they’ve suffered with often disappear or dissipate. Just imagine how great you might feel when your body isn’t burdened anymore by years of toxins from processed foods. Creating your best and healthiest self is our top priority.

It’s Easy! Here’s How

Pick up your phone and call 1-800-222-3610 – or- 1-941-371-1991

To your good health,

Dr. James H. Martin

Presented by: Dr. James H. Martin Nutrition Wellness Center Sarasota Florida