The Government today decided to introduce a blanket ban on mercury. The ban means that the use of dental amalgam in fillings will cease and that it will no longer be permitted to place products containing mercury on the Swedish market.
“Sweden is now leading the way in removing and protecting the environment from mercury, which is non-degradable. The ban is a strong signal to other countries and a Swedish contribution to EU and UN aims to reduce mercury use and emissions,” says Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren.
The Government’s decision means that products containing mercury may not be placed on the Swedish market. In practice this means that alternative techniques will have to be used in dental care, chemical analysis and the chloralkali industry.
We hope all countries follow Sweden’s sensible lead.
Meanwhile, a new pair of studies published in Environmental Health has exposed a new source of this potent neurotoxin. According to a report on it in the Washington Post,
Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, which was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient, according to two new U.S. studies.
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In the first study, researchers found detectable levels of mercury in nine of 20 samples of commercial HFCS. The study was published in current issue of Environmental Health.
In the second study, the agriculture group found that nearly one in three of 55 brand-name foods contained mercury. The chemical was most common in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments.
The mercury gets in the sweetner when mercury-tainted caustic soda is used in the HFCS processing method – a “common” occurance, says the Post. And ingesting it is also a common occurance, for
HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods such as breads, cereals, breakfast bars, lunch meats, yogurts, soups and condiments. On average, Americans consume about 12 teaspoons per day of HFCS, but teens and other high consumers can take in 80 percent more HFCS than average.
Finally, our readers in and around the San Francisco Bay Area may be interested in attending an upcoming talk by Dr. Jane Hightower. In an event hosted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Earthjustice, Dr. Hightower will discuss her recent book Diagnosis: Mercury, Money, Politics & Poison.According to Enviroblog’s write-up about the event,
In this book, she retraces her investigation into the modern prevalence of mercury poisoning, revealing how political calculations, dubious studies, and industry lobbyists endanger our health.
While mercury is a naturally occurring element, she learns there’s much that is unnatural about this poison’s prevalence in our seafood. Mercury is pumped into the air by coal-fired power plants and settles in our rivers and oceans, and has been dumped into our waterways by industry. It accumulates in the fish we eat, and ultimately in our own bodies. Yet government agencies and lawmakers have been slow to regulate pollution or even alert consumers.
Dr. Hightower will be speaking on Wednesday, February 4, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.
Learn more – and get RSVP info – at EWG’s Enviroblog.