A research report titled “Cutting Boards: An Overlooked Source of Microplastics in Human Food?” has been published by the American Chemical Society. The study, which measured the results of chopping carrots on both polypropylene and polyethylene cutting boards, revealed “plastic chopping boards [are] a substantial source of microplastics in human food, which requires careful attention.”
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I suppose this shouldn’t be surprising; when you look at a well-worn plastic cutting board, with all of those grooves and scratches on it, where you suppose the removed material went? Into the environment, or the food, and into our bodies.
There are differences in the microplastic yields of using polyethylene versus polypropylene cutting boards, but both figure ranges still seem high: Based on the study, the researchers “estimated a per-person annual exposure of 7.4–50.7 g of microplastics from a polyethylene chopping board and 49.5 g of microplastics from a polypropylene chopping board.”
The researchers then conducted a toxicity study, on just the polyethylene particles, and found they “didn’t appear to significantly change mouse cells’ viability in lab tests,” if that’s any consolation. I’ll be sticking with wood all the same.
Also, just a heads-up: This was admittedly decades ago, but when I worked in restaurants, plastic cutting boards were common.