Agordia - One Health Place

Cadmium Chocolate - How it Got There

2 min read
Cadmium is that heavy metal that has been found to be present in chocolate at varying amounts.
These amounts can be safe or unsafe depending upon the source of the chocolate the manufacturer uses.
In general, chocolate sourced from Latin and South America as well as Africa may have higher levels of the cadmium. 
But how does the cadmium get there?
The answer? Through natural and through man-made processes.
It occurs naturally in soil from alluvium - The deposit of clay, salt, and sand that comes from flowing streams.
It also comes from an-made routes. Cadmium is released to the air from mining and smelting industrial operations, phosphate fertilizers, sewage sludge, and the production of nickel cadmium batteries. 
It also comes from the production of certain plastics, where it is used as a stabilizer.
It is the man-made approaches that release the cadmium into the air, where rain then brings the cadmium into soil. From there they can be incorporated into our food supply – including chocolate.
There is ongoing research for how to remove cadmium from agricultural soil which includes the use of bacteria or specific plants.
However, of the total cadmium we consume, approximately 6% is actually absorbed. But that 6% stays there for nearly a lifetime as we do not have an effective way to excrete cadmium.
Cadmium exposure impacts women more than men. Why? Iron status. People with lower iron status are believed to be at risk for greater cadmium absorption.
Other studies show that it’s not just iron but also zinc and calcium deficiency which lead to increased absorption of dietary cadmium. 
Certain probiotics may also be protective by binding cadmium in the gut, preventing its absorption.