CADMIUM?! LEAD?! These are big name companies! How did this happen?!
Are You Eating Toxic Chocolate? Lead Found in
Trader Joe’s, Hershey’s and Other Chocolates
Mar. 26, 2016 12:40PM EST
Consumer health watchdog As You Sow released results Wednesday 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
“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 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.
“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.”
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
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.
“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.”
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