Chemicals found in single use chopsticks

This is a shocking documentary about the manufacturing process of billions of single use chopsticks. The video clip is in mandarin, but I’ve summarized the key points below after the video. What the clip doesn’t say is where these chopsticks end up – if it’s only for Chinese internal consumption then the damage can still be controlled if the government were to clam down on the hygiene standards. If these are for exports, then, good luck to all chopstick wielding Asians.

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Quick summary of key poisons:

The first is Industrial Sulfer, when smoked generates Sulfer Dioxide

The second is Paraffin, a low grade residual of the petroleum refinement process

The third is Sodium Metabisulfite, to bleach the chopsticks

The fourth is Industrial hydrogen peroxide, to further bleach even black molded chopsticks

The fifth is Industrial anhydrous sodium pyrophosphate, to enhance the hydrogen peroxide’s bleaching capabilities

This is besides

(i) No disinfection process at all (based on the 30+ factories the report visited)

(ii) Workers stepping on the chopsticks, left it lying on the floor, extremely low hygiene standards

(iii) Molded chopsticks are not removed but bleached

And yet they are packaged into plastic bags, paper bags and even vacuum bags claiming that these chopsticks are well treated. There’s a huge momentum around the world to stop this, and yet the practice continues unabated.

Bringing your chopsticks to the restaurant next?

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2 Responses

  1. That’s really shocking! Better use your own chopsticks or just use forks and spoons.

    [edited: no link farming please]

  2. when i was in beijing, i was being told that some of the supposedly single use chopsticks are being recycled! so they are not really “disposable” and “single use” as what we would perceive. so each time before my meal, i would inspect these chopsticks to ensure they were “clean” and without foul smell!

    yes, we should try to bring own chopsticks for a green cause!

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