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Some Brazilian chocolates found to contain traces of lead, cadmium

The University of Campinas researchers found that dark chocolates had the highest levels of lead and cadmium.

By
Brooks Hays
Researcher found several dark chocolate products in Brazil to have worrying levels of cadmium and lead in them. (UPI Photo/ David Silpa)
Researcher found several dark chocolate products in Brazil to have worrying levels of cadmium and lead in them. (UPI Photo/ David Silpa) | License Photo

CAMPINAS, Brazil, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Researchers recently tested 30 milk, dark and white chocolate products in Brazil. The results were less than comforting; traces of lead and cadmium were found in several of the chocolates.

Though none of the concentrations exceeded limits set by Brazil, the European Union or the World Health Organization, two of the chocolate samples did fail to comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommendations for lead concentration in candies.

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The FDA specifies that food products like chocolate should feature no more than 100 nano grams of lead per gram of candy; the two Brazilian dark chocolate samples exceeded that by 30. The University of Campinas researchers found that dark chocolates had the highest levels of lead and cadmium.

In their paper on the findings -- published this week in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry -- the researchers acknowledged that eaters would have to consume a fair amount of chocolate in order for the bloodstream to absorb enough lead and cadmium to pose a serious health risk.

But author Solange Cadore and his colleagues still consider the levels found in dark chocolate to be concerning, writing that such concentrations could be a "significant source of Cd and Pb ingestion, particularly for children."

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A buildup of lead in the adult body can cause anemia and headaches, but in children, too much lead can cause behavior and development problems. Too much cadmium can hurt a child's organs and disrupt hormone functions.

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