Plastic Cutting Boards That Lose Microplastics in Food. Here’s What A Study Found

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Plastic cutting boards have been shown to leach microplastics into food.


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Microplastics – plastic pieces which is usually less than 5 mm, or about the length of a pencil eraser, and is barely visible to the naked eye – found in such unlike places as human heart tissue and the clouds over Mount Fuji. They have also made their way into food from a number of sources, including, according to some social media users, plastic cutting boards that are in use in many home kitchens.

One job (archive) shared with X (formerly Twitter) on February 17, 2024, had received more than 26.5 million views since this publication:

The basic claim that plastic cutting boards have been shown to leach microplastics into food is true, based on published results from a small-scale study. in the scientific journal of the American Chemical Society, Environmental Science & Technologyon 23 May 2023.

Cutting boards are usually made of rubber, bamboo, wood or plastic. When food is chopped, cut or sliced ​​with knives while on these boards, small pieces of material have been shown to disappear. Small plastic parts, especiallywhich is released into some food products prepared on cutting boards.

The ACS study was designed to determine the effect of table material and chopping styles, with and without vegetables present, on the amount of microplastic released. First, five people chopped on three different polyethylene cutting boards without vegetables to measure the amount of microplastics released. Then, these same people cut polyethylene, polypropylene and wood boards to compare the release of microplastics across the three. Finally, carrots were shredded on the polythene board to see how the release compared when vegetables were used versus when not.

The researchers found that plastic chopping boards were a “substantial source of microplastics in human food” influenced by both a person’s chopping style and the material of the cutting board.

Although propylene was shown to lose more than polyethylene, the study authors calculated between 14 million and 17 million polyethylene microplastics and 79 million polypropylene microplastics from their respective tables each year. However, those figures may vary based on how a person turns, the force required to cut certain foods, and the wear and tear of certain boards, among other factors.

“Our understanding is that human instincts will direct the required force based on the hardness of the food being cut. For example, a restaurant that chops steaks (e.g. chicken and beef) on chopping boards may see plastic before it is served, different microplastic counts in the final steaks,” wrote the authors of the study.

It adds to a growing body of research aimed at understanding how microplastics enter the food chain. Any study, for example, found that a single person ingests between 39,000 and 52,000 microplastics each year through food. Other received that people consume around 1,530 microplastics through food and another 587 through drinking water.

And it’s not just cutting boards that cause microplastics. In 2021, researchers at the Dalian University of Technology in China did determined that plastic packaging can contaminate fruit and vegetables. Microwave and heating Plastic products have also been shown to release microplastics into food.

The ACS study found that the discarded plastics were not toxic to mouse cells tested in a laboratory over 72 hours, but the long-term effects of ingesting microplastics are not well documented. World Health Organization An analysis of microplastic research available from this publication found that “there is currently limited evidence to suggest that microplastics are causing adverse health effects.”

“There are large knowledge gaps in the scientific understanding of the impact of microplastics and the current weight of evidence is low to conclude the casualty of adverse effects. Further and more holistic research is needed to obtain a more accurate assessment of exposure to microplastics and their potential impacts on human health,” WHO wrote in a news release in June 2023.

From a “super worm” that can eat plastic to claims related to the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” Snopes has looked at digital rumors related to the world’s most widespread polluter, available in our archives.


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