Research published by Consumer Reports indicates that 28 brands of dark chocolate contain amounts potentially dangerous heavy materials like cadmium and lead.
Scientists from the nonprofit advocacy organization recently measured the amount of heavy metals in 28 popular brands of dark chocolate bars and they found alarming levels in all of them.
For 23 of the bars, consume only one ounce a day would put an adult above the level of at least one of the metals that could be harmful to humans. Five of the bars were above those levels for both cadmium and lead.
Long-term exposure to even trace amounts of heavy metals can lead to a host of health problems, including problems with brain development in young children, experts say. Though the general health risk is for people of any age.
Frequent lead exposure in adults can cause nervous system problems, high blood pressure, immune system suppression, kidney damage and reproductive problems, according to Tunde Akinleye, the Consumer Reports food safety researcher who led the trial.
While most of the chocolate bars tested contained concerning levels of lead, cadmium, or both, five had relatively low levels of both metalsfound CR.
To determine the risks of chocolate, Consumer Reports referenced California’s maximum allowable dose level of 0.5 micrograms for lead and 4.1 micrograms for cadmium, as there are no federal limits.
The study found that one ounce of Hershey’s slightly sweet special dark chocolate contained 265% more lead than California allowsand Trader Joe’s dark chocolate 72% cocoa contained 192% more.
According to Consumer Reports’ findings, the safest choices are Mast Organic Dark Chocolate 80% cocoa, Organic Deliciously Dark Chocolate 70% cocoa, Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate 86% cocoa, Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Twilight Delight, and Valrhona Abinao Dark Chocolate 85 % cocoa.
In an emailed statement, the trade group objected to Consumer Reports’ use of levels set by California, noting that the state does not set federal food safety standards.
The confectioners’ association published research in August showing ways to reduce lead and cadmium in chocolate, including planting new trees by cocoa farmers.
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Source: La Opinion