Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate

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Plumster
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Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate

Postby Plumster » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:35 am

I've been enjoying a square of Lily's Dark Chocolate (stevia sweetened, 55% cocoa) a day, but am now learning it contains lead and some cadmium. If you or your children eat chocolate, please see the metals tests done by the As You Sow organization:
https://www.asyousow.org/environmental- ... ate-tables
The brands that appear to be free of lead & cadmium are Endangered Species and Trader Joe's
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Re: Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate

Postby MarcR » Thu Dec 19, 2019 1:06 pm

The "ND" readings for a few samples are so rare and inconsistent that I do not count on them. When I filter by Endangered Species / 65-95% Cacao and sort by product, I see three entries for Natural Dark 72 and two for ND 88 (my personal staple):

ND72
2016: 0.022 ppm, 0.9 ug/serv lead; 0.044 ppm, 1.9 ug/serv cadmium
2014: ND lead, ND cadmium
2014: 0.021 ppm, 0.9 ug/serv lead; 0.035 ppm, 1.5 ug/serv cadmium

ND88
2016: 0.038 ppm, 1.6 ug/serv lead; 0.156 ppm, 6.7 ug/serv cadmium
2014: 0.079 ppm, 3.4 ug/serv lead; 0.049 ppm, 2.1 ug/serv cadmium

When I filter by Trader Joe's, I see five entries for 85 Cacao Tumaco:

2016: ND lead, --- cadmium
2016: 0.053 ppm, 2.1 ug/serv lead; 0.650 ppm, 26.0 ug/serv cadmium
2014: 0.023 ppm, 0.9 ug/serv lead; 0.650 ppm, 26.0 ug/serv cadmium
2014: 0.030 ppm, 1.2 ug/serv lead; 21.2 ug/serv cadmium
2014: 0.032 ppm, 1.3 ug/serv lead; 19.6 ug/serv cadmium

(The "---" means the sample wasn't tested.)

Since 99%+ of the samples have detectable levels of lead and cadmium, I expect to ingest some of each with every bite. I think in terms of safety standards and exposure. When I compare the measurements above with the public health guidelines listed by As You Sow, I expect an ounce per day of one of these three products to expose me to 2-7 times the California Maximum Allowable Daily Exposure (MADL) of lead and 0.5-6 times the MADL of cadmium.

Since the "MADL is a level at which a chemical would have no observable effect, even if an individual were exposed to 1,000 times that level", I'm not worried about my daily ounce of Endangered Species 88.

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Re: Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate

Postby Plumster » Thu Dec 19, 2019 3:48 pm

Interesting, MarcR. Thanks for breaking it down.
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Re: Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate

Postby circular » Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:01 pm

I’ve been eating the Endangered Species 88 for a long while now, so I was glad to see it was the preferred pick in ConsumerLab’s chocolate review. They accounted for both heavy metals and antioxidant levels. As I recall Trader Joe’s wasn’t that great in their review, which may have been due to low antioxidant levels or they tested a different TJ’s chocolate. I believe it was their dark chocolate bar since CL was after high antioxidants as well. I’m doing a fly-by here and don’t have time to look it up atm.
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Re: Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate

Postby Julie G » Sat Dec 21, 2019 8:30 am

I’ve been eating the Endangered Species 88 for a long while now, so I was glad to see it was the preferred pick in ConsumerLab’s chocolate review. They accounted for both heavy metals and antioxidant levels.

Check again. ConsumerLab's ONLY accounts for cadmium, but they do include the amount of cocoa flavanols. As you Sow accounts for both cadmium and lead, but neglects to mention the amount of flavanols. I've not found one resource that puts it all together. For now, we must remain sleuths, using multiple resources (with often dated information), to put it all together. :?

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Re: Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate

Postby circular » Sat Dec 21, 2019 9:05 am

Julie G wrote:
I’ve been eating the Endangered Species 88 for a long while now, so I was glad to see it was the preferred pick in ConsumerLab’s chocolate review. They accounted for both heavy metals and antioxidant levels.

Check again. ConsumerLab's ONLY accounts for cadmium, but they do include the amount of cocoa flavanols. As you Sow accounts for both cadmium and lead, but neglects to mention the amount of flavanols. I've not found one resource that puts it all together. For now, we must remain sleuths, using multiple resources (with often dated information), to put it all together. :?

Hi Julie, Dud you read the whole report or just look at the cadmium amounts in the table? They tested for cadmium, lead and arsenic, but it seems the worst player here overall is cadmium and that’s what they report in the table.

They also indicate the safest play is an extract like CocoaVia. It can be added to coffee, but when I checked years ago it had some sweetener added that I didn’t like.

Interestingly they mention these metals compete with others and suggest ensuring adequate intake of iron, zinc and calcium to potentially deter absorption. Of course there are caveats to intake of those as well.

Given my love of my daily dose of ES dark chocolate, I’ve felt the whole report is worth the price of admission to ConsumerLab.
ApoE 3/4 > Thanks in advance for any responses made to my posts.

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Re: Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate

Postby Julie G » Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:18 am

Hi Julie, Dud you read the whole report or just look at the cadmium amounts in the table? They tested for cadmium, lead and arsenic, but it seems the worst player here overall is cadmium and that’s what they report in the table.

Yes, I've read the whole report and agree that ConsumerLab is well worth the price of admission. :D While they mention they tested for lead and arsenic, they don't report those levels whereas As you Sow reports both lead and cadmium... but not flavanols.

Keep in mind, according to the World Health Organization, there is no safe limit for lead in food. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits the maximum amount allowable in food to 3.0 mcg per day for children and 12.5 for adults. California limits lead exposure to just 5.0 mcg a day for everyone, from all sources. Using California standards, some of the chocolate reported on by As You Sow, exceeds 5.0 mcg per serving. Scary.

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Re: Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate

Postby circular » Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:21 pm

Julie G wrote:
Hi Julie, Dud you read the whole report or just look at the cadmium amounts in the table? They tested for cadmium, lead and arsenic, but it seems the worst player here overall is cadmium and that’s what they report in the table.

Yes, I've read the whole report and agree that ConsumerLab is well worth the price of admission. :D While they mention they tested for lead and arsenic, they don't report those levels whereas As you Sow reports both lead and cadmium... but not flavanols.

Keep in mind, according to the World Health Organization, there is no safe limit for lead in food. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits the maximum amount allowable in food to 3.0 mcg per day for children and 12.5 for adults. California limits lead exposure to just 5.0 mcg a day for everyone, from all sources. Using California standards, some of the chocolate reported on by As You Sow, exceeds 5.0 mcg per serving. Scary.

True they don’t share all their data. I’ve given them the benefit of the doubt that they wouldn’t recommend Endangered Species if it were relatively high in lead, while also being a bit concerned about the notion that any lead is undesirable. As You Sow confirms the lead doesn’t appear to be an issue with it.

I think the ideal is cocoa extract supplement in pill form or as Cocoa Via powder or Endangered Species dark. I’m just a bit loath to add more pills and don’t like anything sweet with coffee or chocolate in a drink. With this combined data is there any reason to think about getting cocoa flavanols any other way? These strike me as clearly the top three choices, while extracts probably have the edge.

I’m also intrigued that a large study that I think showed apoe4 benefits from green tea wasn’t based on uncontaminated green tea consumption (and green tea is also commonly contaminated with heavy metals), while another study of fish intake appeared to show that e4s benefitted from fish intake even though mercury levels were higher for it. I’ve been wanting to look at these studies side by side to see if they’re good and I have this right. (Sadly I still rarely have time these days to do more than take a cursory look at things, so I risk muddying the waters you make so clear.) It wouldn’t be to become cavalier about heavy metal consumption, but just to suggest that when we tip the balance of things enough in our favor we may not need to sweat over some degree of heavy metal intake, especially if desirable metals are at normal levels to compete better with the nasties for absorption.
ApoE 3/4 > Thanks in advance for any responses made to my posts.

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Re: Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate

Postby circular » Wed Mar 25, 2020 5:58 pm

I noticed that ConsumerLab's Top Picks has replaced the Endangered Species 88% dark chocolate recommendation with Montezuma's 100% cocoa Dark Chocolate Absolute Black. It is high in flavanols, lowest in calories per 200 mg flavanaols and very low in cadmium (as usual no mention of lead amount). It's has more cadmium (while still being low) but much higher flavanols than Lily's Dark, and it has about the same cadmium as but more flavanols than Endangered Species 88%.

As You Sow doesn't cover this one. I ordered some with almond and sea salt and really like it a lot. Bitter but smooth without the edge that would come with something like 100% Baker's chocolate. Montezuma's is very expensive (Baker's is a very cheap way to get a lot of the flavanols). I've noticed that with the Corvid-19 stress I seem to want to eat more chocolate than usual!

Examples from Alter Eco, Dove Dark, Equal Exchange, Lindt, Moser Roth, Pascha, Taza, Theo, Trader Joe's ... all NOT approved in the chocolate bar category (vs. powder, nibs)

Montezuma Absolute Black is my new go-to. I will have to stick to the serving due to the HIGH cost.
ApoE 3/4 > Thanks in advance for any responses made to my posts.

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Re: Lead and Cadmium in Chocolate

Postby circular » Wed Mar 25, 2020 6:03 pm

MarcR wrote:Since the "MADL is a level at which a chemical would have no observable effect, even if an individual were exposed to 1,000 times that level", I'm not worried about my daily ounce of Endangered Species 88.

Hi Marc,

It might just be me, but I'm having a hard time following your logic here. If the MADL marks the highest without an observable effect, why would you not be concerned about going above the MADL? Isn't that where observable effects would begin to be noticed?
ApoE 3/4 > Thanks in advance for any responses made to my posts.


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