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).
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.
There is no evidence that disposable chopsticks are linked to an increase in cancer risk.
Learn More From These Trusted Sources
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