Dark chocolate has been touted as having health benefits, but researchers warn of toxic heavy metals found in some bars, which may even cause cancer.
In a test carried out by the American organization Consumer Reports, it found lead and cadmium at very high levels in 28 brands of dark chocolate, including Lindt, Godiva and Hershey’s.
The danger is greatest for pregnant women and children, although there are risks for people of all ages, according to Tunde Akinleye, a Consumer Reports food safety researcher who led the trial.
These substances are linked to several health problems. Heavy exposure to cadmium can cause lung cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm, while heavy exposure to lead can stunt the growth and development of children and damage the brain and nervous system.
Even if you don’t consume chocolate frequently, lead and cadmium can still be a concern, as these substances can be found in many other foods – such as sweet potatoes, spinach and carrots – and small amounts from many sources can reach dangerous levels. This is why research emphasizes the importance of limiting exposure whenever possible.
See below for more details on the report:
Dark chocolate bars rich in cadmium but not in lead:
- Beyond Good Organic Pure Dark Chocolate, 70% Cocoa
- Beyond Good Organic Pure Dark Chocolate, 80% Cocoa
- Equal exchange Organic extra dark chocolate, 80% cocoa
- Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate, 70% Cocoa
- Scharffen Berger extra dark chocolate, 82% cocoa
- Alter Eco Classic Blackout organic dark chocolate, 85% cocoa
- Organic Very Bitter Dark Chocolate Pascha, 85% Cocoa
- Dove promises deeper dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
Dark chocolate bars high in lead but not cadmium:
- Tony’s Chocolonely Dark Chocolate, 70% Cocoa
- Lily’s extra dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
- Godiva Signature Dark Chocolate, 72% Cocoa
- Chocolove strong dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
- Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate, 85% Cocoa
- Endangered Species Bold + Silky Dark Chocolate, 72% Cacao
- Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate, 72% Cocoa
- Hu Organic plain dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
- Chocolove extreme dark chocolate, 88% cocoa
- Hershey’s Special Lightly Sweetened Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate bars with high lead and cadmium content:
- Théo Bio Pure Dark, 70% Cocoa
- Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate, 85% Cocoa
- Théo Organic Pure Extra Dark Dark Chocolate, 85% Cocoa
- Lily’s Extremely Dark Chocolate, 85% Cocoa
- Organic Green & Dark Dark Chocolate, 70% Cocoa
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