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Disposable chopsticks have residues (aflatoxins) on them that cause cancer

What you may have heard

Commercially manufactured disposable chopsticks contain cancer-causing chemicals.

What science tells us

The claim that disposable chopsticks contain aflatoxin, a known carcinogen, is unproven. Aflatoxins are chemicals produced by certain fungi and are found on agricultural crops such as corn, peanuts, and tree nuts. People may be exposed to aflatoxins by eating contaminated plant products or by eating meat or dairy from an animal that ate contaminated feed. Aflatoxins have been found in some commercial peanut butter and sesame paste (NCI).

Epidemiological Evidence

The manufacturing of disposable chopsticks is highly regulated by the FDA and EPA, both of which help to ensure reduced exposure. There is currently no epidemiological evidence that aflatoxins are present in disposable chopsticks.

Laboratory Evidence/Supporting Evidence

There is no toxicological evidence that aflatoxin is found in disposable chopsticks.

IARC Carcinogen Classification: Not classified

How to reduce your risk

Wooden chopsticks do not contain aflatoxin and are safe to use for food consumption.

Bottom line

There is no evidence that disposable chopsticks are linked to an increase in cancer risk.

National Cancer Institute (NCI): Aflatoxins
Kumar et al.: Aflatoxins: A Global Concern for Food Safety, Human Health and Their Management


Published: June 24, 2021
Verified/updated: August 22, 2022