Consumer health watchdog As You Sow released results today showing that 35 of 50 chocolate products tested, including chocolate bunnies and eggs, expose consumers to lead and cadmium above levels set by California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act.
Testing commissioned by As You Sow, and conducted at independent laboratories, indicates that the chocolate products contain lead and/or cadmium, and they fail to provide the legally required warning to consumers.
As You Sow has filed legal notices against chocolate manufacturers, including Trader Joe’s, Hershey’s, Green and Black’s, Lindt, Whole Foods, Kroger, Godiva, See’s Candies, Mars, Theo Chocolate, Equal Exchange, Ghirardelli, Earth Circle Organics, and more, for failure to warn of lead and/or cadmium in their chocolate products.
“Lead exposure is associated with neurological impairment, such as learning disabilities and decreased IQ, even at very low levels. In fact, there is no safe level of lead for children,” said Eleanne van Vliet, MPH, As You Sow’s Environmental Health Consultant.
“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 children, who are the most vulnerable of us, from every possible exposure,” said Sean Palfrey, MD, 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.”
“Lead and cadmium accumulate in the body, so avoiding exposure is important, especially for children,” explained Danielle Fugere, As You Sow President. “Our goal is to work with chocolate manufacturers to find ways to avoid these metals in their products.”
Scientists have linked chronic cadmium exposure to kidney, liver, and bone damage in humans. Children are more susceptible to especially susceptible to even from low doses over time. Animal studies associate cadmium exposure with decreased birth weight, neurobehavioral problems, and male reproductive harm.
Recent revelations of lead contamination in water in Flint, Michigan raised awareness that lead is irrefutably linked to neurological impacts in children.
Since 1992, As You Sow has led enforcement actions resulting in removal of lead from children’s jewelry and formaldehyde from portable classrooms.
The brands involved are:
Bissinger’s All Natural 60% Dark Chocolate Whole Almonds Lead
Earth Circle Foods dba River Canyon Retreat Inc.
Earth Circle Organics Organic Balinese Cacao Nibs Cold Pressed Cadmium
Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
Ghiradelli Intense Dark 72% Cacao Twilight Delight Chocolate Bar Cadmium
Ghiradelli Chocolate Premium Baking Bar 100% Cacao Unsweetened Chocolate Lead & Cadmium
Godiva Chocolatier 50% Cacao Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Lead
Godiva Chocolatier 85% Cacao Extra Dark Chocolate Lead & Cadmium
Godiva Chocolatier 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Lead & Cadmium
The Hershey Company
Scharffen Berger Semisweet Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate (62% cacao) Cadmium
Scharffen Berger Extra Dark Fine Artisan Dark Chocolate (82% cacao) Cadmium
Organic New Moon Rich Dark Chocolate (74% cacao) Lead & Cadmium
Lake Champlain Chocolates
Lake Champlain Chocolates Dark Chocolate (57% cocoa) Lead & Cadmium
Lindt & Sprüngli (USA) Inc.
Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa Excellence Extra Dark Lead & Cadmium
Dove Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Bar Cadmium
Mondelez International, Inc.
Green & Black’s Organic 85% Cacao Bar Lead & Cadmium
Moonstruck Chocolate Co.
Moonstruck Dark Chocolate Chile Variado (68% cacao) Lead
See’s Candies, Inc.
See’s Candies Premium Extra Dark Chocolate (62% cacao) Cadmium
The Kroger Co.
Private Selection 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Swiss Bar Lead & Cadmium
Theo Chocolate Theo
Organic Fair Trade Pure 85% Dark Chocolate Cadmium
Trader Joe’s Company
Trader Joe’s Swiss 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Lead
Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Toffee With Walnuts and Pecans 70% cacao Lead
Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate Lead
Trader Joe’s Pound Plus, 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate Lead
Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate 73% Cacao Super Dark Lead & Cadmium
Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar (85% cacao) Lead & Cadmium
Vosges, Ltd. Wild
Ophelia All Natural New Orleans Chili – Dark Chocolate Bar (70% cacao) Lead
Whole Foods Market, Inc.
365 Everyday Value Organic Dark Chocolate (56% Cacao) Lead & Cadmium
If you have any questions or concerns please contact us for help.
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr Anna Killarney