Some bamboo cutting boards are glued together with adhesives that have formaldehyde in them — which could eventually leak into and contaminate food. When buying a bamboo cutting board, make sure that it has a non-toxic label on it in order to avoid this.

Safety of glues in wooden chopping boards

Bamboo and other wood boards from China are probably glued using cheap phenol formaldehyde resin, which is highly toxic until cured. Once cured, you would have to ingest are large amount of it to get sick, or breath the smoke from burning it. Incidentally, it DOES cause immediate pain, and may also cause long term cancer. The amount you would ingest from a cutting board would be insignificant, if at all, and the toxins do not bio-accumulate

The bamboo cutting board I have seems to have 3 layers of wood. The thickness is around 1.2 cms.

What is about "curing"? How does that help in reducing the impact of the glue?

I wanted to understand that how does the glue get in the food in this case and what can be done to prevent or minimize this from happening?

  • See also: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/27570/…
    – SAJ14SAJ
    May 25, 2013 at 14:36
  • Curing is a chemical process, it's a one way street for the chemical reaction. A large amount of energy would be required to undo it, and this would destroy the board
    – TFD
    May 26, 2013 at 8:00
  • @TFD can curing be done at home? May 26, 2013 at 10:27
  • ?Ehh, done in factory in China! e.g. machine lays out strips of wood , coats them in adhesive sourced from sealed barrel, squishes it all together and heats is to required temperature. What are you expecting to do at home?
    – TFD
    May 26, 2013 at 19:40
  • 2
    I suspect that there is no truth to the assertion that formaldehyde from bamboo cutting boards is a danger. I have made this a question over on skeptics: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/16478/…
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Jun 1, 2013 at 12:21

1 Answer 1


While it is impossible to prove a negative, I am unable to locate any credible evidence that there is actual danger from glue in bamboo cutting boards.

Consider that even if (and this seems unlikely) there were formaldehyde in the glue in a cutting board that in order to pose a danger it would have to:

  • Not be bound permanently or chemically modified as the glue cures,
  • somehow diffuse through the bamboo to the surface,
  • transfer into the food in the brief time the food is in contact with the board, and
  • do so in sufficient quantities as to cause harm.

I would not worry about this in the slightest.

  • Does sound logical indeed but since so many websites were claiming about the dangers of the glue, I was quite frightened. Jun 4, 2013 at 8:13
  • transfer into the food in the brief time the food is in contact with the board While the pressure is applied on the board with knife will the glue still not come up? Jun 4, 2013 at 9:16
  • If the glue is made from toxic ingredients (as are table salt and teflon coatings) that reacted to give the final (harmless) product, nothing short of chemically or thermally destroying it is likely to get you the original ingredients back. Jun 13, 2016 at 12:12

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