High fructuse corn syrup contains mercury.

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In summary, the two studies found that nearly half of commercial samples of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, and one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. Mercury accumulates in the body over time, and there should be no mercury in corn sweetener.
  • #1
Vid
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/26/AR2009012601831.html?

Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.

In the first study, researchers found detectable levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS.

In the second study, the agriculture group found that nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The chemical was most common in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.

This is pretty scary. USDA should be looking into this immediately.
 
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  • #2
It is alarmism by a group with an adjenda (responsible for both studies), so I wouldn't worry about it. The maximum concentration found (in 20 samples) was .57 ppm (by mass, actually...) in HFCS. A 355 g (12 oz) can of soda contains about 42 g of HFCS, so that's .06 ppm (by mass). There are no limits for soda, but by comparison, the FDA limit for mercury in seafood is 1 ppm. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts46.html#bookmark10

Put another way, a can of soda at the worst concentration they saw would have 24 micrograms of mercury in it.

Reference doeses vary, though: http://www.mercuryanswers.org/resource-GovAgencies.pdf

It really annoys me that major media outlets don't have science advisors who can help them filter this stuff. All they did here was report what the scaremongers fed to them, without even checking to see what it really meant, much less if it had any merit.
 
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  • #3
russ_watters said:
It is alarmism by a group with an adjenda (responsible for both studies), so I wouldn't worry about it. The maximum concentration found was .57 ppm (by mass, actually...) in HFCS. A 355 g (12 oz) can of soda contains about 42 g of HFCS, so that's .06 ppm (by mass). There are no limits for soda, but by comparison, the FDA limit for mercury in seafood is 1 ppm. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts46.html#bookmark10

It really annoys me that major media outlets don't have science advisors who can help them filter this stuff. All they did here was report what the scaremongers fed to them, without even checking to see what it really meant, much less if it had any merit.

Mercury like other heavy metals accumulates in the body. Even small amounts can add up over time. There should be *NO* mercury in corn sweetener.
 
  • #4
edward said:
Mercury like other heavy metals accumulates in the body. Even small amounts can add up over time. There should be *NO* mercury in corn sweetener.
It isn't possible for there to be no mercury in anything. With enough sensitivity, you'll find it everywhere.
 
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  • #5
In the first Environmental Health study, researchers, led by Renee Dufault, who was working at the FDA at the time, found mercury in nearly 50 per cent (9 out of 20) of samples of commercial high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) they tested in 2005.

They concluded that the food industry, which is a large user of the sweetener, was mostly ignorant of the possibility that ingredients like HFCS could be tainted with mercury. *According to an IATP press release, although the FDA had "evidence that commercial HFCS was contaminated with mercury four years ago", the federal agency "did not inform consumer* , help change industry practice or conduct additional testing".

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/136879.php

HFCS is used in numerous consumer food products including children's snack foods.
 
  • #6
How many corn syrup soft drinks would I have to ingest to equal the mercury in my ~8 amalgam dental fillings?

My estimate: 2 million corn syrup soft drinks, if each filling contains .1 gram of mercury.

There are probably many "foods" more culpable than corn syrup, and there is always a trace of heavy metals in what we ingest.
 
  • #7
It seems ironic that feeding corn syrup to children leads to cavities, however. :frown:
 
  • #8
There is no established safe dose for elemental mercury, the type discovered in corn syrup. But the U.S. 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

http://www.physorg.com/news152264729.html
 
  • #9
Loren Booda said:
It seems ironic that feeding corn syrup to children leads to cavities, however. :frown:


So send your kids out to chew on some toys coated with lead based paint. It is also sweet to the taste.
 
  • #10
russ_watters said:
It isn't possible for there to be no mercury in anything. With enough sensitivity, you'll find it everywhere.

So we should knowingly put it in our food. :rolleyes:
 
  • #11
A handful of plants across the nation 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.

I think you're right, edward - it would be simple and advisable to stop this hierarchy where it still exists.
 
  • #12
edward said:
So we should knowingly put it in our food. :rolleyes:
Obviously, that doesn't follow from what either you or I said.
 
  • #13
Loren Booda said:
How many corn syrup soft drinks would I have to ingest to equal the mercury in my ~8 amalgam dental fillings?

There is very little biological uptake of mercury from amalgam fillings. That doesn't mean that it's risk free - in fact, the people who have the highest exposure are dentists!
 
  • #14
Brazil nuts contain a small amount of radium, too, provided you don't eat several bags at once though you aren't going to be at significant risk.
 
  • #15
This is a perfect example of how absurdly skewed is the perception of risk. Here we're up in arms over ppb traces of mercury contaminating a substance which is itself responsible for untold millions of deaths and perhaps trillions in health care costs. What is the obesity rate in the US? What is the diabetes rate? What is the rate of high blood pressure, heart problems? All of which are toxic effects of excessive consumption of simple sugars like fructose, which the US diet is marinated in? And for comparison, what is the incidence of all heavy metal toxicity put together?

The real catastrophe is that food is contaminated with high-fructose corn syrup, and not just at ppb levels.

Coming up next week: do bullets contain potentially dangerous amounts of the toxic chemical lead? CNN investigates.
 
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  • #16
The Dagda said:
Brazil nuts contain a small amount of radium, too, provided you don't eat several bags at once though you aren't going to be at significant risk.

They also have comparable levels (in terms of activity) of potassium-40.

http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/natural.htm

I'm not sure why they selectively uptake so much radium - none of the other foods have the same order of magnitude as brazil nuts. Could be interesting chemistry there.
 
  • #17
signerror said:
They also have comparable levels (in terms of activity) of potassium-40.

http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/natural.htm

I'm not sure why they selectively uptake so much radium - none of the other foods have the same order of magnitude as brazil nuts. Could be interesting chemistry there.

Apparently it's due to their extensive root system.
 
  • #18
The Dagda said:
Brazil nuts contain a small amount of radium, too, provided you don't eat several bags at once though you aren't going to be at significant risk.

That would be a problem for the three or four people in this country who like Brazil nuts. AFAIK, and IIRC, and I think I do, all jars of mixed nuts end up as 100% Brazil nuts, then you throw the jar away.
 
  • #19
Chi Meson said:
That would be a problem for the three or four people in this country who like Brazil nuts. AFAIK, and IIRC, and I think I do, all jars of mixed nuts end up as 100% Brazil nuts, then you throw the jar away.

I love Brazil nuts myself. They're quite good for you as well provided you don't OD on them.
 
  • #20
It appears that many of the same people who claimed there was no problem with lead paint on toys are also jumping on this issue as being insignificant. Since when is a toxic substance in food insignificant??

The findings come from two studies, one of which is published in the journal Environmental Health and the other is by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). Dr David Wallinga, who works at the IATP, was involved in both studies. He told the press that mercury was toxic in all its forms, and that:

"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 [Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply," said Wallinga.

Use of HFCS as a sweetener instead of sugar has risen sharply in recent decades, and now is commonly used to sweeten breads, cereals, breakfast bars, beverages, luncheon meats, yogurts, soups, and condiments. According to IATP estimates, the average American probably eats about 12 teaspoons of HFCS a day, with teenagers and consumers on the higher end of the spectrum perhaps eating 80 per cent higher than this.

In the first Environmental Health study, researchers, led by Renee Dufault, who was working at the FDA at the time, found mercury in nearly 50 per cent (9 out of 20) of samples of commercial high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) they tested in 2005.

They concluded that the food industry, which is a large user of the sweetener, was mostly ignorant of the possibility that ingredients like HFCS could be tainted with mercury. According to an IATP press release, although the FDA had "evidence that commercial HFCS was contaminated with mercury four years ago", the federal agency "did not inform consumers, help change industry practice or conduct additional testing".

In the second, IATP study, researchers sent 55 popular branded foods and drinks where HFCS is the first or second highest labelled ingredient to a commercial laboratory for testing; they found that nearly one third of them contained trace amounts of mercury. The brands included those made by Quaker, Hershey's, Kraft and Smucker's, big names in the US. The mercury was most prevalent in dairy products containing HFCS, followed by dressings and condiments that contained the sweetener.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/136879.php


The words in bold seem to follow a disturbing pattern. Notice that the first FDA study was done in 2005. Yet nothing was disclosed to the public until the appearance of the the studies in Environmental Health a peer reviewed journal



Industries' point of view is that the studies are out dated. They may be out dated now but they were not when the FDA first saw them in 2005.

Industry has been changing their methods or producing the chemicals used in processing HFSC. WHY? If there was no problem why are they changing to a non mercury process?
Their own statements condemn them as they try to side step the issue.

http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/2983740

What the levels of mercury were in HFCS before the corn industry started to change the process will never be known. The number of food products containing mercury contaminated HFCS when all industrial methods used the mercury process will also be unknown.

I have a gut feeling that people who have children who have been diagnosed as being autistic since HFCS has been widely used are going to be very outraged.
 
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  • #21
edward said:
It appears that many of the same people who claimed there was no problem with lead paint on toys are also jumping on this issue as being insignificant.
Source?
Since when is a toxic substance in food insignificant??
When it is insignificant, it is insignificant. It's not clear to me that you understand that concept. It's pretty basic. For example, I have radon in my basement. Before abatement, the level was significant. After abatement, there's still radon there, but now it is insignificant.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/136879.php

The words in bold seem to follow a disturbing pattern. Notice that the first FDA study was done in 2005.
You misread: the study was not done by the FDA, it was done by someone who was working at the FDA at the time. The fearmonger also appears to have fooled the Washington Times: read the actual press release (I linked it) and read it carefully because they do attempt to mislead you.
Yet nothing was disclosed to the public until the appearance of the the studies in Environmental Health a peer reviewed journal...
"Disclosed to the public" sounds ominous: the person was simply unable to get press the first time around. People didn't care since it wasn't a published study. Now that he has one published, he's pushing both in the press release.
They may be out dated now but they were not when the FDA first saw them in 2005.
Outdated or not, I don't see any evidence that the FDA saw them at all.
I have a gut feeling that people who have children who have been diagnosed as being autistic since HFCS has been widely used are going to be very outraged.
Well that's 20 years, but in any case, if a parent is feeding an infant (autism generally presents pretty quickly) a high sugar diet, they are doing something wrong. The big risk there is diabetes.
 
  • #22
signerror said:
This is a perfect example of how absurdly skewed is the perception of risk. Here we're up in arms over ppb traces of mercury contaminating a substance which is itself responsible for untold millions of deaths and perhaps trillions in health care costs. What is the obesity rate in the US? What is the diabetes rate? What is the rate of high blood pressure, heart problems? All of which are toxic effects of excessive consumption of simple sugars like fructose, which the US diet is marinated in? And for comparison, what is the incidence of all heavy metal toxicity put together?
Heh, good point - I should have thought of that!
Coming up next week: do bullets contain potentially dangerous amounts of the toxic chemical lead? CNN investigates.
Too late!
http://www.princeton.edu/~rmizzo/firingrange.htm
 
  • #24
A lean food used by dieters and a common source of food for children (tuna fish sandwiches) are higher in mercury.

http://cbs2.com/consumer/Tuna.Mercury.Albacore.2.513029.html
 
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  • #25
But the average person doesn't eat half a can of tuna every day.

It's like the last scare about lead in balsamic vinegar - the levels are higher than allowed in drinking water. So anyone that consumes more balsmaic vinegar than water is in trouble,

ps. Why do Americans call it tuna 'fish'? It's not like there's a tuna vegetable it could be confused with.
 
  • #26
The Dagda said:
I love Brazil nuts myself. They're quite good for you as well provided you don't OD on them.

That's one. Have you met the other three?
 
  • #27
mgb_phys said:
But the average person doesn't eat half a can of tuna every day.

It's like the last scare about lead in balsamic vinegar - the levels are higher than allowed in drinking water. So anyone that consumes more balsmaic vinegar than water is in trouble,

ps. Why do Americans call it tuna 'fish'? It's not like there's a tuna vegetable it could be confused with.

I'm having beef mammal for dinner tonight. What are you having?
 
  • #28
mgb_phys said:
But the average person doesn't eat half a can of tuna every day.
Actually some kids and adults will eat a whole 5-6 ounce can a day. I know people that eat a can every day as part of a "healthy" diet. In the US tuna fish sandwiches are very popular. And tuna casseroles are very popular.

Using the latest numbers, a 55-pound child could safely consume only one can of albacore tuna every three weeks
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/02/29/MNG9Q5AUA21.DTL

When it comes out of a can and doesn't resemble fish in taste or texture, I guess people have to be reminded that it's fish. A lot of people eat canned tuna that won't eat fish.

Brazil nuts are my second favorite nut, after cashews. I will even crack them open and fish out the meat with a nut pick, I love them that much.
 
  • #29
Evo said:
Brazil nuts are my second favorite nut, after cashews. I will even crack them open and fish out the meat with a nut pick, I love them that much.
A kindred soul! My father's mother used to save them out for me after others rejected them, and when I would visit, she'd set them out with a nutcracker and picks.
 
  • #30
Evo said:
Actually some kids and adults will eat a whole 5-6 ounce can a day. I know people that eat a can every day as part of a "healthy" diet. In the US tuna fish sandwiches are very popular. And tuna casseroles are very popular.
I love the stuff but if this Hg is at the same level as the HFCS in the other thread, I dont' think I'm going to worry.
If I was eating 50g of HFCS a day, I would be worried - but not about Hg.

When it comes out of a can and doesn't resemble fish in taste or texture, I guess people have to be reminded that it's fish.
Ok, I wondered if it had been a famous advertising campaign or something
 
  • #31
Evo said:
A lean food used by dieters and a common source of food for children (tuna fish sandwiches) are higher in mercury.

http://cbs2.com/consumer/Tuna.Mercury.Albacore.2.513029.html


Yet pregnant women are advised to limit tuna to one serving per week. Perhaps even less, I haven't checked lately.
 
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  • #32
edward said:
Yet pregnant women are advised to limit tuna to one serving per week. Perhaps even less, I haven't checked lately.
Not only tuna. That is extended to swordfish, shark, salmon, and other upper-food-chain fish.
 
  • #33
Don't worry be happy.

That is what we were told by the government in the 1950's during the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. The amount of strontium 90 in cows milk was insignificant. Then they realized that, Oh OH Hey that stuff is accumulative. The tests went underground. The military had flat out lied to the American people.

Hey there is a wonderful new tranquilizer called thalidomide. It works wonders for nervous adults. Let's try it on nervous pregnant women It is not well tested yet but hey, what could it hurt. OOPS their babies were born without limbs.

Phisohex soap, "It is so effective at killing germs that Surgeons scrubbed with it." That very effective information led people to start using it on their babies with confidence. A few years later it was announced that the ingredients in Phisohex could cause cancer, but hey there is only an insignificant amount.

Then further testing by skeptic alarmists of that insignificant amount led to a ban on the product. It did in fact cause cancer.

The same was true of the insignificant amount of hexachlorophene in tooth paste.

I have seen 50 adult years of insignificant amounts of substances that caused great harm to people. That includes everything from pesticides to food addditives and consumer products.

In many cases the government was either not aware or had not tested the products. Then as now they relied on tests done by industry.

I'll sound the alarm willingly anytime there is something in a product that should not be there, insignificant amount or not.

Drink the insignificant kool aid and enjoy.
 
  • #34
turbo-1 said:
Not only tuna. That is extended to swordfish, shark, salmon, and other upper-food-chain fish.


The FDA says eat the fish, the EPA says NO NO NO.

By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 12, 2008; Page A07

The Food and Drug Administration is urging the government to amend its advisory that women and children should limit how much fish they eat, saying that the benefits of seafood outweigh the health risks and that most people should eat more fish, even if it contains mercury.

If approved by the White House, the FDA's position would reverse the government's current policy that certain groups -- women of childbearing years, pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants and children -- can be harmed by the mercury in fish and should limit their consumption.

The FDA's recommendations have alarmed scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, who in internal memos criticized them as "scientifically flawed and inadequate" and said they fell short of the "scientific rigor routinely demonstrated by EPA."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/11/AR2008121103394.html

It seems to me that the FDA not only dropped the ball in recent years, they lost the ball.
 
  • #35
For god sakes, how many people are drooling retards because of eating fish Edward?

I'm sorry, sometimes these reports read like a crock of bull****.
 

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