Dark Chocolate Lead Content Tolerable?

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Dark chocolate lead, get it out!

Concerned about dark chocolate lead levels?

Nobody needs or wants any toxic metal in their diet.

But if you eat chocolate, you're eating it.

Guess which type of chocolate has the highest level?

You're right, dark chocolate.

You love to eat it. Should you worry?

Lead in Chocolate

Unfortunately, chocolate products have a high lead content compared to other foods. Why?

Well, you can't blame it on the cocoa bean. It has one of the lowest lead levels documented.

Where does the heavy metal come from then? Most of it enters the chocolate on its journey from the tree to your tongue. Seems it's more about where the bean's been.

Shipping, processing, and manufacturing expose it to the toxic metal.

Why do dark chocolate products have a higher level than milk chocolate? Because dark contains more chocolate liquor (liquid unsweetened chocolate) than milk chocolate does.

The United States Department of Agriculture identified the chief source of lead in chocolate.  You guessed it, chocolate liquor!

How dangerous is the heavy metal?

Potential Health Problems

Well, it's not labeled a toxic metal for nothing. Lead may cause behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures and death.

Children six and under are most at risk.

The EPA warns that children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity
  • Slowed growth
  • Hearing problems
  • Headaches

Fortunately, early detection may prevent these problems.

Adults can suffer from:

  • Reproductive problems (in both men and women)
  • High blood pressure and hypertension
  • Nerve disorders
  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Muscle and joint pain

So is dark chocolate's lead content dangerous?

Chocolate Lead Poisoning?

There's no need to panic. Levels found in dark chocolate products are considered too low to be dangerous.

Plus a study indicates that the body absorbs only a small percentage of the lead in cocoa.

So enjoy your favorite treat without worry, unless you're pregnant. Consult with your doctor to be safe.

It's extremely important that pregnant women, infants, and young children avoid exposure to the toxic metal.

The young and the elderly who live with lead contamination are at greatest risk. They should avoid eating lots of dark chocolate.

An FDA survey found that less than 1 percent of children under 6 eat bittersweet. But you may have a junior dark chocoholic in your family. I do.

So hide the good stuff.

Still worried? Don't eat bittersweet, if the heavy metal weighs on your mind.


Problems can occur. In March 2006, there was a dark chocolate recall. Lead levels were found to be high in some Dagoba Organic Chocolate products.

The company recalled them to prevent any health problems linked to lead poisoning.

Don't fear the dark chocolate lead levels. Sure lower levels would be better and people are working on that. But it appears the health benefits outweigh the risks. Enjoy!

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