Trying To Be Greener

Safer eco-living, one day at a time

Study finds mercury in corn syrup made in the U.S. January 28, 2009

MSNBC reported yesterday that a study done by the journal Environmental Health shows detectable mercury in nine out of 20 samples of high fructose corn syrup made in the United States.

Dr. David Wallinga, a food safety researcher and activist at the nonprofit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy tested 55 different foods where high fructose corn syrup was the first or second ingredient on the label. Fifty five different foods included jam, barbecue sauce, jam, chocolate syrup, and yogurt. One out of three had mercury above the detection limit.

It is believed that the mercury got into the food during manufacture, at plants that use mercury-grade caustic soda produced in industrial chlorine plants. The Corn Refiners Association has challenged the findings.

Certain fish has been found to contain high levels of mercury. Even low levels of mercury have been shown to harm the developing brain. To see which fish have low levels of mercury, click here and here.

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6 Responses to “Study finds mercury in corn syrup made in the U.S.”

  1. As if we needed more reasons to not consume HFCS. Thanks for the post!

  2. Jennifer Says:

    Good grief! But, it’s another good reason to stay away from HFCS.

  3. Thanks for covering this! I work on Oceana’s Campaign to Stop Seafood Contamination, which has been working since 2005 to get the chlor-alkali industry to go mercury-free. Since then, 5 of the 9 plants that were using outdated technology at that time have announced plans to stop using mercury. To email the companies that own the remaining four plants and ask them to switch to modern technology, go to

    In the last couple of sessions of Congress, we have worked with then-Senator Obama to introduce legislation that would ban mercury in chlor-alkali production by 2012. We will be working to make sure the legislation passes this year!

  4. This study had some faults. I think HFCS has many other reasons for us to stay away from it but mercury may or may not be one of them.

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