(StraightNews.org) – Some of America’s most popular candy bars contain “concerning” levels of lead and cadmium, according to recent consumer information. The nonprofit organization Consumer Reports called on chocolate producers, including Hershey’s, to lower the amount of both ingredients in their products.
The group conducted tests on dark chocolate bars, milk chocolate bars, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and mixes for brownies, chocolate cake, and hot chocolate, and found “excessive” metal in hot chocolate, cocoa powder, and dark chocolate products by Hershey’s, as well as various drinks sold by Nestle, Trader Joe’s, and Starbucks.
Only milk chocolate bars were found to contain none of the worrying metals. Dr. Eric Boring, who conducted the tests, said dark chocolate tends to have higher metal levels, yet “there’s enough variation in the lead levels within each category of foods that it’s clear factors other than cocoa” are at play.
The Food and Drug Administration responded saying it considers chocolate “only a minor source of exposure” to the relevant metals, but reminded manufacturers that it is their responsibility to ensure their food products are safe.
Experts say that prolonged exposure to lead can have a “devastating” impact. “There is almost no function in the human body which is not affected,” says the US National Library of Medicine. Studies show that humans are exposed to lead via various means, and while much of that exposure has reduced due to improved safety practices, it still poses a threat.
Despite years of study, scientists still cannot explain why one person can experience significantly different effects than another, but in general, lead exposure “disrupts the maintenance of the cell membrane” and makes weak cells weaker.
Cadmium poisoning mainly affects the digestive system and usually occurs through food ingestion or the inhalation of contaminated air. Symptoms include abdominal pains with diarrhea and vomiting and sensations of bowel movement. It can also cause flu-like symptoms and lead to severe respiratory conditions, including pulmonary edema and blood clots.
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