January 28, 2009

HFCS is even worse thanks to … mercury

Category: Not Wholesome!!!,Politics — Biella @ 6:46 am

So, on the one hand, I am not surprised about this news about a study which found that high fructose corn syrup, which is of questionable health value, is laced, with a significant amount with mercury.

On the other hand, I am surprised that this is not splattered all over the front pages of all the major newspapers. This is serious stuff. Mercury is extremely poisonous and is known to cause all sort of health problems from immune system dysfunction to massive neurological damage.

Might more of our foods be laced with heavy metals, aside from fish, HFCS. It is very likely.

More on this, but later.

update: Since the article I linked to did not mention the amount of mercury found, here is the original publication (and as a small aside, why newspapers don’t link to these documents is beyond belief). Page 9 of the PDF is particularly telling because it reveals how it was difficult for researchers to obtain more samples so that they could enlarge the sample size….


  1. According to the article that was published on (IIRC) page 2 of the Seattle Times, mercury is used (maybe as a catalyst? Don’t remember, but they mentioned using “vats of mercury”) in the production of corn syrup, and some of the mercury ends up in the final product.

    Comment by Daniel Burrows — January 28, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  2. As someone who has limited my HFCS intake for a long time and has cut it out of my diet nearly entirely for months, I’m sympathetic.

    However, do remember this is just 1 study which isn’t able to go into great detail about how serious a threat it is. Perhaps for once we should be happy the media isn’t fear-mongering? Fish may have more mercury than HFCS, so I would hate for people to end up with the idea: “HFCS safer than Fish”

    Comment by Michael Schurter — January 28, 2009 @ 10:26 am

  3. Uh, the article you link gives no numbers. Detectable levels doesn’t tell us anything useful. Detectable levels are likely at the single ppb level or less. I can’t find anything that says conclusively, but I’ve done detection down to ~10 ppb. For reference, mercury in fish, which we still let people eat, is at the ~1 ppm level.

    This is nothing but fear mongering without some actual data.

    Comment by Hg tastes good — January 28, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

  4. I agree that having no levels reported is real problematic but when it comes to fish, the levels can be quite high. We don’t recommend fish (very often) for pregnant women because it is too high and very high concentrations have been found especially in tuna.

    I don’t think it is fear mongering. Hopefully it will get others to do more studies and see what is going on. We don’t even know, and actually can’t even know the effects of multiple chemicals have in our bodies. So while a small amount of mercury might be ok, if you have small amounts of mercury and 44 chemicals (and babies btw are born routinely with 200 of them), we don’t know what the effect might be. Science just does not have right now at its disposal the ability to model the effects of low grade poi sining by dozens of chemicals over 20 years. I hope it can one day but it simply cannot. In the meantime, why not err on the side of safety? Why not recognize that probably less or really no chemicals are far better than some chemicals? And anyway, HFCS is junk anyway so hopefully people will get a small spark of reflexiveness with this so called fear mongering and drop the junk.

    Comment by Biella — January 29, 2009 @ 5:17 am

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