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Lead and Cadmium Found in Brazilian Chocolate

Update Date: Sep 04, 2014 02:40 PM EDT

Chocolate is known to have many benefits but the sweet treat also hides some unknown harms. A new study has found presence of heavy metals in Brazilian chocolates.

A team of researchers at the University of Campinas's Institute of Chemistry found the presence of cadmium and lead in commercially available chocolates, a few of which are also found in the US. According to Zee News' reporting of the study, the presence of metals were linked to the levels of cocoa in the chocolate.

UPI reports, the Sao Paulo researchers tested 30 milk, white and dark chocolate samples to find that dark chocolate contained the highest levels of the metals. While the study noted that varying levels of both metals were found in all samples tested, only two dark chocolate samples exceeded limits set by United State's Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA's standards require the levels to remain with 100 nanogram per gram of chocolate. The two dark chocolate samples exceeded this limit by 30 ng. No other internationally prescribed limits were exceeded, the study noted.

Though researchers admitted that health effects would manifest only if fairly large amount of chocolate is consumed given the concentration of metals, they expressed concerns regarding consumption in children.

To give perspective to the threat, the study pointed out, "If a child who weighs 33 pounds consumes approximately one-fourth of a candy bar a day, 20 percent of the EU recommended weekly tolerance is ingested."

While lead is known to affect brain and development in children, its effects on adults include anemia and frequent headaches. Cadmium, if present in large amounts, can have disastrous effects on hormone balance and causes organ damage.

The study was published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. Other studies in the past have shown that naturally occurring metals in soil can show presence in chocolate when they enter cocoa crop.

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