Dark chocolate has been widely hailed as a healthier snack than other sweets, with some sources even recommending a small daily dose to promote its benefits. “Eating dark chocolate with high cocoa content in moderation can deliver antioxidants and minerals and may help protect you from heart disease.”
Now we learn that it may also contain potentially dangerous amounts of heavy metals, according to research released on Thursday by Consumer Reports.
Scientists at the nonprofit advocacy organization recently measured the amount of heavy metals in 28 popular brands of dark chocolate bars and found cadmium and lead in all of them. Alarmingly, it was found that for 23 of the bars, consuming just an ounce a day would put an adult over a level for at least one of the metals that could be harmful, CR said. Five of the bars were above those levels for both cadmium and lead.
Long-term exposure to even small amounts of heavy metals can lead to a slew of health issues, including developmental problems and brain development in young children, experts say.
“But there are risks for people of any age,” Tunde Akinleye, the CR food safety researcher who led the testing, said in a statement. Frequent exposure to lead in adults can lead to nervous system problems, hypertension, immune system suppression, kidney damage and reproductive issues, he noted.
While most of the chocolate bars tested contained concerning levels of lead, cadmium or both, five had relatively low levels of both metals, CR found.
“That shows it’s possible for companies to make products with lower amounts of heavy metals — and for consumers to find safer products that they enjoy,” Akinleye said.
In determining the risks for the chocolate it tested, CR used California’s maximum allowable dose level of 0.5 micrograms for lead and 4.1 micrograms for cadmium, as there are no federal limits.
CR found that an ounce of Hershey’s Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate contained lead 265% above what California allows, and Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate 72% Cacao holding 192% more.
Discussion about this post