Chocolate, Lead and the Measurement Conundrum

Chocolate, Lead and the Measurement Conundrum

Some chocolate contains lead. Is this safe? And does the ability to measure minute quantities of lead in chocolate make the product less safe?
This week's Risk Bites is about the measurement conundrum -- what do you do when you can measure what's in the stuff you eat to the nth degree? It's not primarily about the risks of lead in chocolate, but if you want to find out more about this, please check the links below.

[Lead Watch is a made-up app by the way -- just in case it isn't clear!]

This week's Risk Bites team:
David Faulkner (Script, post-production)
Andrew Maynard (all the other stuff)
Thanks to Mary Hall for the inspiration on using lead in chocolate as an example of the measurement conundrum.

Useful resources:

FDA: Lead in food -

FDA: Reported Findings of Low Levels of Lead in Some Food Products Commonly Consumed by Children -

FDA: Lead in Candy -

FDA: Total Diet Study:

Chocolate: A taste of developing countries . . .(Mary Hall)

Rankin CW, Nriagu JO, Aggarwal JK, Arowolo TA, Adebayo K and Flegal AR. 2005. Lead contamination in cocoa and cocoa products: isotopic evidence of global contamination. Environmental Health Perspectives. 113(10): 1344--1348. doi: 10.1289/ehp.8009. Also available at:

Risk Bites is supported by:
University of Michigan School of Public Health.
University of Michigan Risk Science Center.

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