Mercury is a dangerous neurological toxin and too much exposure has been responsible for several poisoning outbreaks around the world. Routes of exposure and metabolism have been well documented for elemental mercury, organic mercury, and inorganic mercury. In general, organic mercury forms are considered to be the most toxic; however, some studies have indicated that ethylmercury and methylmercury are handled differently by the body and therefore have differing toxicities. Ethylmercury is a breakdown product from a commonly used preservative in vaccines for humans and animals, as well as in some cosmetics, and it needs to be studied more comprehensively before its safety can be determined. Annie Carter, VP of Operations at Brooks Rand Labs, along with Elizabeth Madonick, Technical Sales Specialist, recently published an article on ethylmercury analysis in Environment Industry Magazine. View the Environmental Industry Magazine featuring the Ethylmercury and Human Health article on page 134.
Food manufacturers and retailers are becoming much more aware of the issues related to elevated levels of inorganic arsenic in foodstuffs and the potential long-terms risks associated with consumption of certain products. Michelle Briscoe, the President of Brooks Rand Labs, was invited to give a presentation on November 8, 2013, at Costco’s Annual International Quality Assurance and Food Safety Summit held at the company’s global headquarters in Issaquah, Washington, on the topic of Arsenic in Food. The presentation focused on the analysis of different forms of arsenic in food samples such as rice, shellfish, and seaweed. Download a copy of Ms. Briscoe’s presentation.
Arsenic is present in the environment as a naturally occurring element or as a result of contamination from human activity, and is found in either the organic or more toxic inorganic form. In an effort to understand and manage arsenic-related risks associated with the consumption of rice and rice products in the US marketplace, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently (September 2013) released the analytical results for inorganic arsenic in approximately 1,100 new samples of rice and rice products (in addition to the approximately 200 samples that the FDA initially tested and released findings for in September 2012). The FDA concluded that the levels of inorganic arsenic found in its testing were too low to cause immediate or short-term adverse health effects. The FDA’s work going forward will center on long-term risk and ways to manage it with a focus on long-term exposure. Download a copy of the most recent FDA report.