Consumer Reports testing found that 1 in 3 chocolate products contain heavy metals like lead and cadmium that may harm kids' neurological development and cause other health issues.
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Testing by Consumer Reports found one-third of chocolate products tested were high in heavy metals, and the percentage of contaminated products rose when it was dark chocolate.
Of the 28 dark chocolate bars tested in 2022, only five had levels below 100% of the maximum allowable dose and only two had levels below 50%. In the 46 products tested in 2023, they found detectable levels in every product and 539% of the maximum allowed dose of lead in Perugina 85% premium dark chocolate.
Chocolate is not the only source of heavy metal and it bioaccumulates, so it’s important to be aware of your overall intake. Cadmium can be absorbed from the soil and is found in the highest levels in grains and vegetables.
Exposure to lead and cadmium poses the highest risk to the brains and neurological systems of infants and children. Since cadmium crosses the placental barrier, exposure during pregnancy can have serious health consequences, including increased mortality from heart and kidney disease and cancer.
Dark chocolate has many health benefits, but your source should be chosen wisely to avoid exposure to heavy metals. Consider incorporating strategies for heavy metal detox to protect your mitochondrial function.