Friday, November 1, 2019

Toxic metals found in chocolate

As You Sow (asyousow.org); Ashley Wells, Crystal Q., CC Liu (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

If you have a sweet tooth, you may have read studies talking about the health benefits associated with eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate.

But asyousow.org's research has found a potential health risk in popular chocolate products that’s been flying under the radar: Many chocolates contain toxic metals like lead and cadmium.

No level of lead is safe for children. 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.

“As underscored by the Flint disaster, humans have contaminated our environment with lead, and now we must do everything in our power to protect ourselves and our children, who are the most vulnerable of us, from every possible exposure,” said Dr. Sean Palfrey, M.D., a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics and public health at Boston University School of Medicine. “Young children and pregnant women especially should avoid exposure to lead.”

Cadmium is also known to cause reproductive harm. Cadmium can cause damage to the kidney, liver, and bones, while also impairing neurobehavioral development. Children are more susceptible than adults to exposure from low doses of cadmium over time.

Chocolate testing
As You Sow has conducted independent laboratory testing of over 120 chocolate products for lead and cadmium.

Based on the results of our testing, which found that 96 (76%) of the 127 chocolate products tested contain lead and/or cadmium above California’s MADLs, we filed legal notices with over 20 companies, including Trader Joe’s, Hershey’s, Mondel─ôz, Lindt, Whole Foods, Kroger, Godiva, See’s Candies, Mars, Theo Chocolate, Equal Exchange, Ghirardelli, and Chocolove for failing to warn consumers that their chocolate products contain cadmium or lead or both.

In 2018, As You Sow's legal efforts culminated in a first-of-its-kind settlement with the world’s largest chocolate companies.

In partnership with As You Sow, 31 chocolate companies -- including Cargill, Hershey, Mars, and Nestle -- have committed to funding an independent expert committee to investigate the sources of lead and cadmium in chocolate, find feasible measures to lower levels of these metals, and evaluate and recommend the lead and cadmium concentration levels in chocolate that trigger Proposition 65 warnings.

Consumers can help make a difference: Make companies aware that you take this issue seriously. If your favorite chocolate brand contains lead or cadmium, call, tweet, or otherwise ask the company to remove or reduce the heavy metals from their products.
Chocolate Test Results
Since 2014 As You Sow has commissioned independent state-certified laboratories to measure levels of lead and cadmium in over 120 chocolate products available at retailers across California.

The table below shows the amount of lead and/or cadmium found in each sampled chocolate product, measured in micrograms per serving (ug/serving). See our FAQ for more information on how these products are tested. More

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