Your Cart

Your Cart is Empty
  • Subtotal
  • Total (before taxes)
High Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury? (not diaper related, but important)
February 3, 2009 11:16 pm | by
I have long suspected that something in high fructose corn syrup (and possibly other processed corn products) is somehow linked to neurological issues in children. My son has an undeniable reaction to foods containing processed corn. Because of his sensitivity, we’ve been on a corn-free diet in our house now for two years. This last summer, we experimented and let him try “real’ corn on the cob. We were shocked to find that he can eat unprocessed corn without a reaction! Knowing this led me down another path… perhaps we’re not dealing with corn as a food, but instead we’re dealing with something introduced during the process of producing corn-derived products.

It never occurred to me that high fructose corn syrup could actually be a source of mercury in food.These articles linked the contamination issue to the use of contaminated caustic soda and hydrochloric acid in the production process for high fructose corn syrup.

The big question now is what other food ingredients are produced using these processes? Most kids consume copious amounts of HFCS. Then I want to know why the FDA has known about this since 2005 and done nothing to get it out of our food supply?

We’re careful… but as a pregnant mama, I think I want to KNOW when my Gatorade G2 (only consumed when I know I’m dehydrated) could be contaminated with mercury. I get to choose not to eat fish products… shouldn’t I get the same choice with drinks not available made with sugar? I want to know and I think that someday my baby will want me to have known.

At Jimmy’s urging, I just went and read what the EPA has to say about ingestion of mercury…. here is a mind boggling quote (

For fetuses, infants, and children, the primary health effect of methylmercury is impaired neurological development. Methylmercury exposure in the womb, which can result from a mother’s consumption of fish and shellfish that contain methylmercury, can adversely affect a baby’s growing brain and nervous system. Impacts on cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills have been seen in children exposed to methylmercury in the womb.

Recent human biological monitoring by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1999 and 2000 (PDF) (3 pp., 42 KB, About PDF) shows that most people have blood mercury levels below a level associated with possible health effects. More recent data from the CDC support this general finding. Outbreaks of methylmercury poisonings have made it clear that adults, children, and developing fetuses are at risk from ingestion exposure to methylmercury. During these poisoning outbreaks some mothers with no symptoms of nervous system damage gave birth to infants with severe disabilities, it became clear that the developing nervous system of the fetus may be more vulnerable to methylmercury than is the adult nervous system.

When I get time (and if this baby isn’t born first), my next big legislation read is S.1818 (, a bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to phase out the use of mercury in the manufacture of chlorine and caustic soda. Think someone is trying to quietly make this go away?

Caustic Soda
I just got done reading more about caustic soda (NaOH) – also called sodium hydroxide. I haven’t found much information about how it is used in food preparation yet, but this quote from Wikipedia was particularly interesting:

Food uses of sodium hydroxide include washing or chemical peeling of fruits and vegetables, chocolate and cocoa processing, caramel color production, poultry scalding, soft drink processing, and thickening ice cream. Olives are often soaked in sodium hydroxide to soften them, while pretzels and German lye rolls are glazed with a sodium hydroxide solution before baking to make them crisp.

Other links of interest:
This is the PDF of the foods that were tested for Mercury by IATP ( #1 on this list is Quaker Oatmeal to Go. #2 is Heinz BBQ Sauce (Jack Daniels version). #3 is Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. This is definitely worth reviewing as a reference to use while you purge your pantry.

The details of the study are included in a report titled “Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup.”

Link to the other study that was released at the same time:

About the Author

Jenn is the founder of Cotton Babies & creator of bumGenius, Flip, and Econobum, worldwide leading cloth diaper brands. She has four children (Andrew, Oscar, Elsie and Louis) and holds an MBA from Washington University. When she's not working full time, she enjoys teaching business leaders how to implement sustainable economic & social change.


Comments are closed here.