New Yorkers may want to think twice about indulging in their next chocolatey treat, and it has nothing to do with New Years resolutions.

According to tests conducted by Consumer Reports late last year, there are concerning levels of lead and cadmium in various chocolate products. They looked at 48 different products containing cacao (or cocoa) and every single one had detectable amounts of lead and cadmium.


According to the study:

Exposure to heavy metals is of greatest concern in children and during pregnancy, because they can damage the brain and nervous system, causing developmental delays, learning and behavior problems, and more. But adults can also experience negative effects. For example, frequent lead exposure has been linked to immune system suppression, reproductive issues, kidney damage, and hypertension.

Dark chocolate products typically contain more cacao, but milk chocolate and other cocoa-containing products had varying amounts of lead and cadmium also. While heavy metals can be found in many different foods -- including our drinking water -- they are obviously best avoided in large quantities.

Populations that would be most adversely affected would be children and pregnant women.



Cadmium seems to be absorbed by the cocoa plant from the soil. On the other hand, lead can be deposited onto cocoa beans post-harvest, possibly from dust and soil exposure as the beans dry outdoors.

While there are no specific brand names more affected than others, consumers are encouraged to be aware of the issues.

You can read Consumer Reports' entire writeup here.

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