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Autism, Mercury, and High Fructose Corn Syrup in Winter Park

There have been constant yet controversial claims of autism incidence being linked to exposure to the neurotoxin mercury.  In that regard a study published in Environmental Health pertaining to mercury exposure as a consequence of consuming products containing High Fructose Corn Syrup is thought provoking and potentially devastating.


Mercury is used to produce thousands of 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.  It is often produced with mercury in part because mercury is a preservative.  Even “organic” high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) uses mercury in the manufacturing process to enhance the shelf life of HFCS containing products.  HFCS is used as a sweetener by food manufacturers.  It also stabilizes food products and enhances product shelf life.


The FDA currently does not have a mercury surveillance program for food ingredients such as added sugars or preservatives manufactured with mercury grade chlor-alkali products. 


According to a recent study 10% of calories consumed over a 24 hour period by U.S. children and adults contain high fructose corn syrup.


On products where HFCS is listed as the first or second ingredient on the label may contain detectable levels of mercury if the HFCS was manufactured with mercury grade chlor-alkali chemicals.


With the average daily consumption per person in the U.S. of HFCS about 50 grams and daily mercury intake from HFCS up to 28 micrograms, this potential source of mercury may exceed other major sources of mercury especially in people that consume large amounts of beverages sweetened with HFCS.


Numerous studies have linked HFCS to both the obesity epidemic and escalating diabetes rates in the United States.


For optimum health it would be best to avoid any product containing high fructose corn syrup.  This would include most sodas, catsups, many energy bars and other condiments.

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