We've recently shared our cadmium test results, and today we are going to unpack those some more.

This is where it gets really interesting!

The NOEL value is the maximum dose level of cadmium at which there is no observable reproductive effect. This NOEL value, adjusted for 130lb human body weight, is an oral dose of 4.1 mg/day. This value has been used for legal precedent in California and elsewhere.

Taking a value slightly higher than any of our test results, 0.400ppm cadmium, gives a total dosage of 11.3ug of cadmium in a 1oz cup of cacao. 

Let’s look at these numbers side by side.

  • 11.3ug = 0.0000113 grams of cadmium / day in a cup of cacao.
  • 4.1mg = 0.0041000 grams of cadmium / day is observed to have no reproductive effect in a pregnant woman (per NOEL).

That’s a safety factor of 315, assuming that you are pregnant!

It’s GOOD to have a big safety factor for environmental toxicity, and we’re glad that cadmium in cacao is being taken seriously at the highest levels. Because we’re talking about such miniscule amounts, really all the media hype lately with cadmium is about - what safety factor is big enough?

That’s because the common sense answer to how much cadmium you want in your body is ZERO. Like, 0.0000000000. But the problem is, you can’t make that be the law. Because our lab testing can detect even the minutest amounts, so if you test to that sort of resolution, you start seeing cadmium in EVERYTHING. 

In fact, the original California Prop 65 had to be amended in 2018 because the levels were erroneously set so low that ALL CHOCOLATE and many foods were disqualified. That’s because they made the safety factor TOO BIG. It’s an understandable mistake - no lawmaker wants people dying from cadmium poisoning on their watch. 

But the nuance is in setting the threshold in a reasonable place, and communicating that to the public. 315 is an excellent safety factor. As an engineer, I know that many things we depend on daily, like bridges, buildings, and vehicles, might only have a safety factor of 2 or less. And that’s exactly where the news media got it wrong - all of their analysis was based on a safety factor of 1000. Which sounds great, but honestly is way higher than needed and COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC as lawmakers discovered when they had to revise Prop 65 five years ago.

This is why I feel very confident recommending ALL of our cacaos to you - even if you are pregnant. Unlike the news hysteria lately, you are simply extraordinarily unlikely to ever experience any negative effects from cadmium in cacao with the test results we have and the safety levels in the legal system for this.

Coming up next … for maximum assurance, our founder Jonas went into Kaiser Permanente (our local health clinic), to get tested for blood cadmium levels. We’ll share those with you as soon as we get the results.  

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