New York: Savoring the sweetness of chocolates may come with a bitter side-effect on your health as researchers have found varying levels of lead and cadmium in samples of chocolate purchased in Brazil.
Dark chocolates had the highest amounts of lead and cadmium, which can cause health problems, said co-researcher Solange Cadore from the State University of Campinas Institute of Chemistry in Brazil.
While lead can cause abdominal pain, headaches and anemia in adults, in children it can cause behavioural changes and language delay among other problems.
Cadmium can cause damage to several organs. It also has estrogen-like effects disrupting the functions of other hormones.
For the study, Cadore and colleagues tested 30 milk, dark and white chocolate products bought in Brazil.
"While chocolate has many potential health benefits due to the high levels of flavonoids and antioxidants in its star ingredient, cocoa, unwanted components can make their way into the delectable treat," the researchers noted.
Two samples tested in Brazil exceeded the threshold recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to FDA, the level of lead in candy should not exceed 100 nano-grams per gram (ng/g) of candy.
The study appeared in the journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.