When it comes to the utensils we use in our homes, we often turn to whatever is cheapest or most readily available.
While this has its benefits, it could have some hidden dangers. An American doctor took to social media platform TikTok to warn of some of the risks that come with using plastic chopping boards to cut your food on.
According to Dr Poonam Desai, we could be increasing our exposure to potentially harmful microplastics by using plastic boards.
Instead we should opt for wooden chopping boards where possible.
Speaking to her more than 200,000 followers on TikTok she explained: “I’m a doctor and I do not use plastic cutting boards.
“Did you know that plastic cutting boards can actually leach thousands of microplastics every time we use them?”
They could also be more risky in terms of bacteria.
“And they tend to harbour more bacteria than, let’s say, a wooden cutting board,” she said.
Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic debris. They have been found in the ocean and rivers, as well as some foods and drinks.
They have been shown to damage human cells and if consumed by people could damage the endocrine system – a network of organs and glands in the body – and reproductive system.
Dr Desai continued: “Microplastics are endocrine disruptors and they could be harmful to our health, so we really wanna avoid them.”
How you clean your chopping board can also be risky.
She added: “If you do use plastic cutting boards, make sure not to put them into the dishwasher because heat can make plastic leach even more.
“I personally opt for a wooden cutting board.”
One study, published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Public Health last year, found that plastic cutting boards are a potentially significant source of microplastics in human food.
It said: “Based on our assumptions, we estimated a per-person annual exposure of 7.4 to 50.7 g of microplastics from a polyethylene chopping board and 49.5 g of microplastics from a polypropylene chopping board.
“We further estimated that a person could be exposed to 14.5 to 71.9 million polyethylene microplastics annually, compared to 79.4 million polypropylene microplastics from chopping boards.
“This study identifies plastic chopping boards as a substantial source of microplastics in human food, which requires careful attention.”
However, this study did not find the microplastics to have an adverse effect on mice used as subjects.
It said: “The preliminary toxicity study of the polyethylene microplastics did not show adverse effects on the viability of mouse fibroblast cells for 72 hours.”