Mercury Rising: Yet Another Reason to Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup

Dutch cornfield after a police drug bust
Dutch cornfield after a police drug bust
Photo credit: Daily News

Even if you're not a Stephen King fan, you've got to admit that cornfields are creepy. Crop circles. Kevin Costner wandering between the rows with a baseball bat. But unless you fled an Iowa childhood, it's not the corn itself that's the problem, but what it's processed into. High fructose corn syrup has been charged with contributing to childhood obesity, diabetes, kidney and heart disease, and vilified by food guru Michael Pollan as environmentally disastrous and for being, well, not food. Now studies show that HFCS could be tainted with mercury.

According to a January HealthDay News article, researchers in two studies have found levels of mercury in almost half of the samples of HFCS tested. And the latest issue of Mother Jones reports that not only was mercury detected in the sweetener, but that the first results were published four years ago. That would be about the same time that the FDA read the initial report--and decided that there was nothing to worry about. That's just elemental mercury, contended the FDA; it's the organic stuff that can kill you. Problem is, the scientists disagree on this. Great. Who do you believe on this one?

Maybe Obama's new FDA head can figure it out. But my bet's on the guy who calligraphied this Dutch cornfield (pictured above) with his car. For the record: He was apparently high on cocaine, not corn syrup. Have a Coke and a smile.

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