Yes, you read it right – disposable wooden chopsticks contain bleach. However, fret not, you do not need to start bringing out your own. Read on.
Though these chopsticks contain bleach, which is made of sulphur dioxide, it is also a common bleach and preservative used in numerous foods. These chopsticks are made in China and the purpose of bleaching is to lighten the colour of the wood.
Moreover, sulphur dioxide produces sodium sulphite and sodium metabisulphate, which are water-soluble, thus you could easily rinse them off. Well, however, it is unusual for us to practice that, especially when you are dining at the hawker centres.
As reported by Professor James Tan of Nayang Technological University’s School of Biological Sciences, there have been no long-term studies done on the amount of bleach in these chopsticks. However, since the contact area of the chopstick and food is also very small, so there is no need for a frantic act of rinsing them or throwing them out.
He added, you will probably find more sulphur dioxide in a perserved plum than in those chopsticks!
However, friends who are asthmatics should take extra care about this because a diet high in sulphite-rich foods like dried fruits or wine could trigger an asthmatic attack. 🙂
Beware and take care my friends.