Debra Lynn Dadd

Toxic contaminants in wood?


I noticed that you prefer wooden cooking utensils, but I was wondering, since wood is porous and would thus absorb any toxins it might have been exposed to in manufacture, how can we be reasonably sure they are free of toxins? Most likely, they will be made in China, is that okay in terms of toxicity? I hear a lot about wood conatining all sorts of toxins to the extent that we have held off buying a new dresser because of the chemically treated wood. What do you think, Debra and everyone? Thanks for all your help on so many topics. This site is a precious resource!


POSTED BY CHERYL :: FLORIDA USA :: 12/16/2008 11:49 AM


I'm going to take your questions one at a time.

I prefer wooden cooking utensils because wood is a renewable resource, and they don't scratch.

Yes, wood is porous and does thus absorbs any toxins it might have been exposed to in manufacture--IF it has been exposed. Wooden cooking utensils are intended for use with food and need to be nontoxic.

I'm not sure most likely wooden utensils are made in China. I just bought a set of wooden tongs at Williams-Sonoma that were handmade in America. Often I buy my wood utensils from woodworkers at crafts fairs, or at high-end cooking stores like Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table. Some cheap wooden utensils may be made in China, but not these. I've never had a problem with fumes outgassing from a wooden utensil, or being made ill by eating food prepared with wooden utensils. Toxic chemicals from wooden utensils has just never been an issue in my experience.

Some wood IS treated with toxic chemicals for very specific purposes, such as pressure-treated wood to be used outdoors. Some furniture made from wood contains toxic chemicals if it is not solid wood, but is plywood or particleboard. I've purchased many pieces of solid wood furniture and never had a problem with toxic chemicals in the wood.

Some woods, such as pine and cedar, have resins that some people are sensitive to. But otherwise, wood itself isn't toxic.

Debra :-)


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