Heavy Metal Testing for Arsenic, Lead and Mercury in Food Now Available to Consumers

The term “heavy metal” is a somewhat arbitrary and amorphous designation having no official chemical meaning. Nevertheless, the use of this term not only persists but is quite common. Some heavy metals are essential for life. Human blood is red, for example, because that is the color of the oxidized iron carried in our blood cells. A number of heavy metals toxic. Some heavy metals are essential at low concentrations but are toxic at higher concentrations. Copper is relatively toxic for humans, but is essential for most mollusks and some arthropods (such as the Horseshoe Crab) because the oxygen carrying feature of their blood is not iron but copper. Oxygenated copper is a lovely shade of blue. Nonetheless, iron-based blood carries about four times as much oxygen as copper-based blood. Other still more primitive sea creatures such as sea cucumber have “blood” that is yellow, because it is based upon Vanadium, which is toxic for us, although this pigment does not carry oxygen for the organism. It is important to consider life’s history, diversity and attendant intricacies when assigning the toxicity of any given substance.

All heavy metals are “natural” components of this world we live in, but “natural” doesn’t mean harmless. Just ask anyone bitten by a venomous snake, scorpion, fire ant, or what have you. The same gorgeous natural stream capable of providing an idyllic day of fly-fishing for trout is also able to give rise to the misery of black flies in their millions. To discover this for yourself (not recommended), take a hike through the backwoods of Maine in May.

The food we eat is certainly a natural product, even given the modifications introduced by breeding efforts involved in its production. However, these days much of our food comes from our industrialized agriculture and an ever-increasing fraction of it is imported. It is FDA’s job to inspect food coming into the U.S., yet FDA itself admits that it is able to inspect only about 2.1% of this country’s food imports. It is a big job, sea cucumber for sale yet soon FDA may have fewer funds to work with. FDA is currently implementing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act passed in January of 2011, yet in March 2012 House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) outlined a budget that would cut an additional $5.3 trillion from Health and Human Services throughout the next decade over and above President Obama’s budget request. FDA is part of Health and Human Services. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK) praised this budget proposal as evidence of Republican leadership in deficit reduction. It seems very hard to avoid the conclusion that House Republicans would prefer to see deficit reduction even at the cost of food safety. This is especially worrisome as food safety over the past year has been far from ideal.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has already warned that foodborne outbreaks and problems with import inspection will increase if FDA finds itself underfunded. She pointed out that FDA activities currently cost each American consumer about three and a half dollars per year. In addition, sea cucumber for sale FDA has indicated its pessimism regarding future funding by proposing to charge food facilities a registration fee to pay for the needed oversight. Such pessimism may well stem from the fact this proposal for alternative funding was rejected by yet another House Republican, Representative Tom Latham (R-IA). Representative Latham’s position was that such a registration fee would become just a tax on the consumer. What about the import of his actions on food safety? He apparently had no comment on that point.

In the event that the inevitable increase of foodborne outbreaks and food import failures predicted by Commissioner Hamburg becomes reality, can we expect representatives Ryan, Lucas, Latham and others of their ilk to own up to their mistake and take their share of the responsibility for the debacle? There is no reason to think so. Rather, the most likely response would be for them blame FDA for falling down on the job and then use such a purported “failure” to cluck about how the government can’t be trusted to do anything and then to reaffirm their belief in the same “market” that caused the problem.

What is the consumer supposed to do in the face of such an obvious dysfunction in their government? To date, the consumer has been notably absent from the food safety debate. In the face of partisan intransigence and the consequent government dysfunction, For more info please visit these websites:-https://mtzbail.com/ https://rhodesschools.org/ https://www.thesilverlakenews.com/ https://mybitstore.com/ it is time for the consumer to be heard because it is the consumer who has the power of the purse. To exercise that power, the consumer must be informed by unbiased analytics of their own choosing. If such analytics cannot be provided by fiscally hamstrung government regulators and cannot be trusted by self-serving company reports, then such analytics must arise anew.

Scientific analysis is expensive. Meaningful measurements often involve the use of instruments costing tens of thousands of dollars and operated by highly skilled technicians who, quite rightly, feel they deserve to be compensated for the skill set that has often taken them many years to acquire. Cheap and unreliable data are of use to no one. However, despite the huge variety of food products for sale in the U.S., there are still very many more people interested in the results than there are products to be tested.

The public has long enjoyed the right to participate in the ownership of private companies by purchasing one or more small shares of that company in an exchange dedicated to the purpose. There is no reason why the public could not purchase shares of an analysis of a given food product. Such a share may be quite affordably priced, say $5.00. Once consumers have purchased a sufficient number of shares to pay for the analysis, https://stars77slot.online/ purchase the product and pay for the overhead such consolidation entails, the product may be purchased and the analysis carried out. Copies of the results would then be sent back to each person who purchased a share. No governmental dysfunction involved.

Once a large number of analyses on the same product were completed, the share-processing company would compile all such date and publish a compilation of results available to the public (and at a reduced rate for any shareholder who had participated in the acquisition of such data). Meanwhile, analytic shareholders could, if they wished, express either their congratulations or any concerns they might have to either the company or the regulatory agency involved, or both. They would certainly have the right to share such information with other interested consumers of their choosing.

If repeated analyses of this kind showed no or only negligible amounts of the contaminant being analyzed then this system would have identified a food that is “safe,” at least insofar as the analyte being tested for. On the other hand, if a large number of samples showed significant elevations from what may be considered a “safe” level, then the manufacturer of such a food product may well want to explain (or contradict) such findings to consumers or to any regulatory bodies consumers have chosen to share their results with.

Thus far, there is only one company that offers analytic shares to the public. See the links below for details. At the moment, consumer-oriented testing of food products is only available for arsenic, lead and mercury. These three poisonous substances were chosen because they were felt to have the broadest applicability. Some background on each of these three might be useful.

The following discussion makes extensive use of the terms parts per million (ppm) and parts per billion (ppb). To follow this discussion, you need to know what they mean. The easiest thing to do is to start from the definitions. A gram is the basic unit of weight in the metric system. A milligram is one thousandth of a gram. A microgram is one millionth of a gram (or one thousandth of a milligram). If a gram of material is analyzed for some analyte and in that one gram sample, a milligram of that analyte is found then one may say that the analyte is present in the sample in the ratio of one part per thousand. Why, because the gram of sample contained, by definition, one thousand milligrams. If one of those was the analyte then the remaining 999 milligrams must have been something else. So, a ratio of one part per thousand must be the equivalent of one milligram per gram (mg/g). This may also be expressed as a percentage (1/1000 x 100 = 0.1%).

If one microgram of analyte is found in a one gram sample then one may say that the ratio of analyte weight to sample weight is one part per million (ppm) or the equivalent of one microgram per gram (µg/g). This makes sense because a gram must, by definition, contain a million micrograms and in this example, the ratio of analyte to total sample weight is one in a million. However, this numerology needs to be intuitively understood by folks who don’t work in laboratories all day. To make that happen, you need to understand just how big (or rather how small) a microgram is. This is tough because although you might be able to see a milligram as a kind of tiny dust-bunny, you are not likely to ever really see a microgram. Having an intuitive sense of something your eyes can’t see is difficult.

So, sit down at a clean, smooth table. Get your thumb out and use it to “stamp” the table as if you were using a rubber stamp. You have just added the weight of your fingerprint (approximately one microgram) to the weight of your table. Chances are that, examine the table as closely as you care to and you wouldn’t be able to see a thing. Now you know that a microgram is not a lot of stuff.

So, what about parts per billion? Same as before. A gram contains, by definition, one billion nanograms. So, if one gram of sample is found to contain one nanogram of analyte, then we can say that the ratio of analyte to sample is one part per billion or one ppb or one nanogram per gram, (ng/g). To visualize a nanogram, divide your fingerprint into a thousand pieces. You will need to know one last thing. Sometimes concentrations of toxic substances are expressed in terms of micrograms per liter (µg/L) or micrograms per kilogram (µg/Kg or µg Kg-1). To make sense of this, remember that a liter is defined as one thousand milliliters and that a milliliter is defined as a volume being exactly one centimeter cubed (cm3). It just so happens that a cube of water one centimeter on each of its three sides, by definition, has a weight of one gram. So, µg/L = µg/1000 milliliters = µg/L = µg/1000 grams = µg/Kg = ng/g = ppb. At this point you may want to beat any scientist who expresses toxicant levels in terms of µg/L with a large stick for cleverly hiding a simple and understandable fact out there in plain sight. Before you do so, remember that scientists are people too. If you don’t love them, they will get weird on you (and may obfuscate).


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