February 3, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Chocolate… with heavy metals

Chemicals have been found in chocolate that can damage the brain. New study shows dark chocolate contains high lead and cadmium contentaccording to CNCB.

According to a recent study by Consumer Reports (CR), some types of dark chocolate have been found to contain harmful chemicals such as lead and cadmium. As part of the study, CR tested 28 varieties of dark chocolate in the USA to measure the level of heavy metals they contain. According to CNCB, lead and cadmium have been found in all products.

To determine which chocolates posed the greatest risk, CR used California’s maximum allowable dose level (MADL) for lead and cadmium as a baseline.

5 brands whose chocolate may be high in lead and cadmium

  1. Trader Joe’s: dark chocolate, 72% cocoa (192% MADL, lead) and The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate, 85% cocoa (127% MADL, lead, 229% MADL, cadmium)
  2. Hershey’s: special dark slightly sweet chocolate (265% MADL)
  3. Lindt: Excellence Dark Chocolate 85% cocoa (166% MADL lead) and Excellence Dark Chocolate 70% cocoa (116% MADL lead)
  4. Godiva: Signature Dark Chocolate 72% cocoa (146% MADL lead)
  5. Dove: Promises Deeper Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa (112% Cadmium MADL)

According to Dr. Fred Henrethig, senior toxicologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, low-level lead exposure can have serious consequences for children’s cognitive abilities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to high levels of lead can cause weakness, anemia, and damage to the kidneys or brain. Moreover, the damage to health is much more pronounced in children than in adults. In addition, “when cadmium is consumed in large amounts, it can seriously irritate the stomach, causing vomiting and diarrhea,” the report says.

There have been several lawsuits against some chocolate brands, including Trader Joe’s and Hershey’s, with US consumers claiming they were misled and put at risk due to the products’ heavy metal content. Alter Eco, Endangered Species, Theo and Trader Joe’s did not respond to Consumer Reports, however.

How cadmium affects health:

  • Inhalation of high concentrations of cadmium can seriously damage the lungs. Eating food or drinking water with a very high content of cadmium strongly irritates the stomach, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Prolonged exposure to low concentrations of cadmium in the air, food or water leads to the accumulation of cadmium in the kidneys and possibly their disease. Other long-term consequences are lung damage and bone fragility.
  • Cadmium and its compounds are known human carcinogens.

How can lead affect health? Lead symptoms range from headache, vomiting, seizures, muscle weakness, abdominal pain, hair loss, and even anemia. Even small lead concentrations can create developmental problems in children such as learning difficulties, attention deficits, learning difficulties. In general, children are more sensitive to the effects of lead. The main places where high concentrations of lead are found in the human body are the skeleton, where it is most concentrated, as well as the skin, muscles, blood and soft tissues.

Consumers should prioritize low-cacao dark chocolate and monitor their overall chocolate intake, the CNCB says.

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