The great majority of Americans love chocolate. But chocolate containing lead and cadmium; well this adds a whole new light on the subject. According to the non profit group ‘As You Sow’ who has conducted independent laboratory testing of over 120 chocolate products for lead and cadmium.
They found 96 out of 127 chocolate products containing lead and/or cadmium above the safe harbor threshold of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Based on these results, they filed notices with over 20 companies, including Traders Joe’s, Hershey’s, Mondelez, Lindt, Whole Foods, Kroger, Godiva, See’s Candies, Mars, Theo Chocolate, Equal Exchange, Ghirardelli, and Chocolove, for failing to provide the legally required warning to consumers that their chocolate products contain cadmium or lead, or both.
No level of lead is safe for children. For decades, lead exposure has been a significant public health risk. Lead is associated with a variety of neurological problems, including learning disabilities, seizures and lower IQ. Including babies in the womb.
California law ensures consumers receive warnings before they are harmed. To protect consumers, companies should take action to remove these toxic heavy metals from their products or warn consumers according to Proposition 65. If heavy metals are not removed, consumers need to protect themselves and their families. https://oag.ca.gov/system/files/prop65/notices/2014-00635.pdf
As You Sow commissioned an independent state-certified laboratory to measure levels of lead and cadmium in over 120 chocolate products that are available at retailers across the state. The chart below reflects testing of chocolate that was performed between 2014 and 2018. The colors of the chart indicate whether a serving of the chocolate exposes consumers to lead and/or cadmium above the Maximum Allowable Dose Level (MADL) set by the state of California under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. https://www.arb.ca.gov/bluebook/bb08/head/hea_d_20_ch_6_6.htm
According to World Health Organization:
“Food and drinking-water Cadmium contained in soil and water can be taken up by certain crops and aquatic organisms and accumulate in the food-chain. 4 Food constitutes the main environmental source of cadmium for non-smokers.
Highest cadmium levels are found in the kidney and liver of mammals fed with cadmium-rich diets and in certain species of oysters, scallops, mussels and crustaceans. Lower cadmium concentrations are found in vegetables, cereals and starchy roots. Owing to the larger consumption of such food items, they represent the greater part of daily cadmium intake in most populations.2,5 Some crops, such as rice, can accumulate high concentrations of cadmium if grown on cadmium-polluted soil. Acidification of cadmium containing soils may increase the cadmium concentrations in crops.
Cadmium exposure from drinking-water is relatively unimportant compared with exposure from the diet. However, impurities in the zinc of galvanized pipes and solders in fittings, water heaters, water coolers and taps can sometimes lead to increased cadmium levels in drinking-water.”
“Smoking The tobacco plant naturally accumulates relatively high concentrations of cadmium in its leaves. Thus, smoking tobacco is an important source of exposure, and the daily intake may exceed that from food in the case of heavy smokers. Cigarette smoking can cause significant increases in the concentrations of cadmium in the kidney, the main target organ for cadmium toxicity.”
According to Healthy Holistic Living: Update (August 2017):
“In an effort to protect consumers, the European Union has released new guidelines for cadmium exposure thresholds that will take effect January 2019:
– Milk chocolate with less than 30% total dry cocoa solids cannot contain more than 0.10 mg/kg wet weight of cadmium
– Chocolate with more than 50% total dry cocoa solids and milk chocolate with more than 30% total dry cocoa solids cannot contain more than 0.30 mg/kg wet weight of cadmium
– Chocolate with more than 50% total dry cocoa solids cannot contain more than 0.80 mg/kg wet weight of cadmium
– Cocoa powder sold to the final consumer or as an ingredient in sweetened cocoa powder sold to the final consumer (drinking chocolate) cannot contain more than 0.60 mg/kg wet weight of cadmium
According to Confectionery News, an industry publication, “No limit values exist for cadmium in chocolate in the U.S. However, California requires a warning label on products with more than 4.1 mg of cadmium per daily serving of a single product. The FDA has also set a guidance limit of 0.1 ppm for lead in candy consumed by young children.”