Beware of toxic chocolate! If you have a sweet tooth and indulge in chocolate often, like I do, the results from chocolate testing might be enough to scare you straight! Evidence shows chocolate contains toxic metals like lead and cadmium.
As You Sow has conducted independent laboratory testing of 70 chocolate products for lead and cadmium. They found that 45 of the 70 chocolate products contain 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 have filed notices with 18 manufacturers, including Trader Joe’s, Hershey’s, Mondelēz, Lindt, Whole Foods, Kroger, Godiva, See’s Candies, Mars, Theo Chocolate, Equal Exchange, Ghirardelli, Earth Circle Organics, and more, for failing to provide the legally required warning to consumers that the products contain cadmium or lead, or both.
“Our goal is to work with chocolate manufacturers to find ways to avoid these metals in their products,” said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow.
Another group tried the same strategy in 2002 but ultimately dropped its effort. However, that prompted researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz to look into the amount of lead (but not cadmium) in chocolate, and the results were somewhat sobering. Their study, published in 2005 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, concluded that the lead in chocolate was not from naturally occurring sources.
Lead exposure has been a significant public health issue for decades. Lead is linked to a variety of neurological impairments, including learning disabilities, seizures, and a lower IQ. Developing fetuses and children are especially vulnerable to lead exposure because their brains are in critical growth and development stages.
Cadmium can cause damage to the kidney, liver, and bones, while also impairing neurobehavioral development. Lead and cadmium are both listed under the act as reproductive toxins.
Know your rights:
Law’s in many states, including California, ensures consumers receive warnings before they are harmed. To protect consumers, companies should take immediate steps to remove these toxic heavy metals from their products or, at the very least, provide consumers with warnings according to Proposition 65.
For those of us who pay close attention to the ingredients of the products we buy, this is more than unsettling. Many rely on companies they believe they can trust to get the best and safest products for their families.The study has left me disturbed and I will personally be taking a long break from this toxic chocolate.