CASFS Blog & Forum

This site is for Apprentices, Administrators, Alumni and Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden Apprenticeship Program and the Center For Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) to post/discuss news and events.*
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Want Some Mercury with That?

Yet another reason to hate on highly-subsidized, obesity-inducing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)... mercury. Mercury is a potent brain toxin that we know accumulates in fish and seafood, although diet is not the only route by which we are exposed. When babies are exposed to elevated mercury in the womb, their brains may develop abnormally, impairing learning abilities and reducing IQ. For these youngest children, the science increasingly suggests there may be no “safe” level of exposure to mercury. And yet for decades an increasingly common ingredient in processed foods, HFCS, has been made using mercury-grade caustic soda. Caustic soda (also known as sodium hydroxide or lye) and a number of other food industry ingredients are produced in industrial chlorine (chlor-alkali) plants. “Mercury-grade,” also known as “rayongrade” caustic soda, comes from chlorine plants still using an outdated 19th century technology that relies on the use of mercury. While most chlorine plants around the world have switched to newer, cleaner technologies, some still rely on the use of mercury. These mercury cell plants may rival coal-fired power plants as sources of mercury “leaked” to the environment. What has not been publicly recognized is that mercury cell technology can also contaminate all the food grade chemicals made from it, including caustic soda, as well as hydrochloric acid. Read the full report here; view the list of products tested and found to have mercury here.
The winner? Quaker Oatmeal to Go: 350 ppt!

posted by CASFS 2006 @ 11:06 PM

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