Thu, Jun 09, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Watchdog finds excessive lead in chopping board

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

One type of chopping board contains lead and cadmium levels that exceed the legal maximum limit, the Consumers’ Foundation announced yesterday after a series of tests.

The consumer rights watchdog said that amid a chemical scare affecting food and beverages in the nation, the idea that potentially harmful chemicals could enter our bodies through other methods, such as when food is prepared on substandard chopping boards, has become of interest to the public.

Colorful chopping boards were singled out for the investigation, as the foundation tested whether illegal chemicals may have been added to improve the visual appearance of a product.

The foundation in January purchased 15 types of plastic chopping boards from supermarkets, department stores and cookware stores in northern parts of the country to determine whether any harmful chemicals were found on the surface of the boards, which could potentially be absorbed into the food consumed.

The results showed that a type of soft plastic chopping board sold at a branch of A.mart (Far Eastern Ai Mai) in Banciao District (板橋), New Taipei City (新北市), tested positive for lead and cadmium at amounts exceeding 100 parts per million, which is the legal maximum set by the Department of Health for utensils, food product packaging and drinking vessels.

Foundation secretary-general Chen Chih-yi (陳智義) said lead poisoning from overexposure to the heavy metal could damage the heart and bones, while bodily systems including the digestive, reproductive and nervous systems could also be affected.

For its part, cadmium poisoning can lead to alternating fever and chills, as well as muscle pain, he said.

Studies have also shown that cadmium is a carcinogen that can cause harm to the bones, kidneys and respiratory system, he said.

The foundation said that when consumers shop for chopping boards, which come into such close contact with the foods we eat, they should avoid buying boards that are too colorful, as harmful chemicals are sometimes used in the colorant.

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