Debra Lynn Dadd

Non-Toxic Cutting Board Recommendations?



i was looking for a new cutting board. up to now, i've been using john boos' butcher block. but it cracked, and i'm in the market for a new one. however, prior to repurchasing a boos block, i was concerned re: the potential toxic glues and laminates used. should this be an issue to consider? in addition, they have their 'mystery oil' used for upkeep of the board vs. regular food grade mineral oil. i'm not sure if that's okay, or if there's as natural oil that you might recommend?

i've also looked into bamboo, and saw 'totally bamboo's' site stating that they do not use toxic glues with their products. i've not had any experience with bamboo, and was curious if either you or your readers might have some feedback regarding this vs. maple butcher block.

the plastic synthetic boards, i assume are toxic.

what cutting boards (and oils) have you found to be the best performing and least toxic?

thank you kindly.

POSTED BY JT :: CALIFORNIA USA :: 01/23/2007 12:40 PM


I personally use maple, though I would consider a bamboo cutting board if I needed to purchase a new one. I've had mine for years, and actually have never put anything on them (see Q&A Wood Conditioner for Cutting Boards and Bowls for a lengthy discussion on this). They are still in excellent condition and I use them daily.

I've never found a cutting board to have toxic adhesives. They are required to be food safe.

The common 1/2' thick plastic boards are made from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). According to the International Plastics Task Force, mice fed HDPE powder as part of their diet "developed no changes in their general condition" in the short or long term.

Here are the types of cutting boards currently available:

Plastic -- These come in hard and flexible plastic, and thick or thin. The harder the plastic, the less it offgasses. Sharp knives easily cut soft plastic, and can cut right through a soft thin plastic board. Hard plastic boards are very durable and easy to clean.

Tempered Glass -- These are completely nontoxic, very durable, resistant to heat, and are the most sanitary and easy to clean. The disadvantage is they dull knife edges and make noise when you are chopping.

Wooden Boards -- In the past, these were usually made of maple hardwoods. Bamboo is becoming more and more popular due to its hardness and resistance to bacteria. Wooden boards are easiest on knife edges but are harder to clean. There have been claims that wood harbors bacteria, but I've also read that wood contains natural substances which kill germs. I've never had a problem with using my wooden cutting boards.

Here's a pretty thorough article on choosing a cutting board:

Debra :-)


I own a bamboo cutting board and it has held up well after 8 months or daily use. My only gripe about it is tht since my hearing is very sensitive to sharp noises, I find this board to be very loud as opposed to my old maple wood one.


Hi Debra,

You mentioned that you've never found a cutting board to have toxic adhesives because they are required to be food safe. I've been researching cutting boards and many are made with formaldehyde/ phenolic resin and epoxy glues. If they are selling them then they must be considered food grade, but I would consider them toxic. One of your posters mentioned a company named Totally Bamboo, and they claim to have non-toxic formaldehyde free cutting boards. I would still call them and see what exactly they consider non-toxic.



They may be considered food grade, but I would consider them toxic.

COMMENT FROM DEBRA: Personally, I've always purchased regular cutting boards at cookware stores and have never had a problem with adhesives. I'm glad you are researching this. Let us know what you find.

POSTED BY LOEL :: ARIZONA USA :: 10/29/2007 11:51 PM

I did a little research before we got our maple wood block for the top of our kitchen island. We decided to accept one from the cabinet maker's usual supplier.

By the time we were to that point, I'd worn myself out researching dozens of products at a time and in an area where most building professionals knew nothing about healthy products and methods. So, I was willing to accept the assurance that these boards are pressed together under extremely high pressure and there is very little glue left in the final product. It made sense and I hope it's true.

Regarding treatment for the wood block counter: after reading the discussion that Debra referred to above, I decided to use Holland Bowl Mill Bee's Oil. While mineral oil is not considered natural, I think it is not toxic, and weighing all the pros and cons, this seems a good solution to the what-to-use question. The product has a very pleasant honey smell.



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