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Medical Mercury in High-Fructose Corn Syrup

  1. Jan 27, 2009 #1
    Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar
    Renee Dufault , Blaise LeBlanc , Roseanne Schnoll , Charles Cornett , Laura Schweitzer , Lyn Patrick , Jane Hightower , David Wallinga and Walter Lukiw

    Environmental Health 2009, 8:2doi:10.1186/1476-069X-8-2

    Published: 26 January 2009
    Abstract (provisional)

    Mercury cell chlor-alkali products are used to produce thousands of other products including food ingredients such as citric acid, sodium benzoate, and high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is used in food products to enhance shelf life. A pilot study was conducted to determine if high fructose corn syrup contains mercury, a toxic metal historically used as an anti-microbial. High fructose corn syrup samples were collected from three different manufacturers and analyzed for total mercury. The samples were found to contain levels of mercury ranging from below a detection limit of 0.005 to 0.570 micrograms mercury per gram of high fructose corn syrup. Average daily consumption of high fructose corn syrup is about 50 grams per person in the United States. With respect to total mercury exposure, it may be necessary to account for this source of mercury in the diet of children and sensitive populations.


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  3. Jan 27, 2009 #2


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    Then your diet is going to kill you long before the mercury gets you
  4. Jan 27, 2009 #3
    the problem is, HFCS is showing up in everything. it's very hard to avoid unless you simply eat no prepared foods. if you eat a ham sandwich, it probably has HFCS.
  5. Jan 27, 2009 #4


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    The average mercury found in the samples was 0.113 ppm which is comparable to the concentration of mercury in canned tuna (0.118 ppm)1, both of which are below the maximum allowable concentration of mercury in foods (1 ppm). Of course, since people consume much more HFCS than tuna, I would agree with the authors' conclusion that HFCS could be significant source of mercury. It's something to think about but I'm not sure how much it will change my eating habits. Beside, the 1g of HFCS may be worse for your health than the 0.1 µg of mercury that comes with it.

    1 FDA. http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~frf/sea-mehg.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  6. Jan 28, 2009 #5
    Over half the samples were < LOD and the issue is alleged to be traced to the caustic used in HFCS production. If further work bears this out - they simply need to clean up the caustic.
  7. Jan 28, 2009 #6
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