An independent study conducted by As You Sow of 50 different chocolate products for lead and cadmium during 2015 and 2016 showed that 35 of those products contained lead and/or cadmium. Of these chocolates, many contained levels that passed the safe harbor threshold stated in California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65).
See’s, Theo, Kraft, Creative Natural Products Inc., Trader Joe’s, Ghirardelli, and Hershey are just a few of the brands that were found to have products containing significant levels of these metals. This is not because of a mistake at the manufacturing plant; it is the soil in which the cocoa beans are grown that is the source of these metals. Therefore, because of its higher cocoas content than milk chocolate, dark chocolate, which we have been told is good for us because of the antioxidants and other health benefits it boasts, contained the highest levels of lead and cadmium.
As You Sow, a consumer health protection organization, has now filed 18 notices with the manufacturers of the chocolate for failing to include the legally required consumer warning that their products contain lead and/or cadmium. California law, according to Proposition 65, requires a warning to be posted alerting the consumer of the possible health risks if the manufacturers refuse remove the heavy metals from their products.
Exposure to lead has been linked to many neurological impairments, such as seizures, lower IQ and learning disabilities. The consumption of chocolate containing these levels of lead could be especially dangerous to developing fetuses and children, due to the vulnerability of their developing brains. Cadmium exposure at high levels has been linked to kidney, lung and intestinal damage. It is advised that young children and pregnant women especially should avoid the products listed here by As You Sow. However, I don’t think anybody, no matter age or pregnancy status, should be consuming these products.
I’ve been wanting to cut added sugars out of my diet but found myself having trouble kicking my dark chocolate habit to the curb Well, now I have a very good reason to stop!
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