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Hi all.. I have aquired (as only a canny scott can) some nice pieces of 3"x3" purpleheart. As part of the wifes christmas I was thinking of making her a matched set of tools for the kitchen. (Rolling pin, meat tendereriser, spoons and spatulas etc.)Is Purpleheart safe to use in this manner in either an unpolished or foodsafe finish.
 

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Just call me Sir
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only toxic from what i see is from machining as an irratant from dust as the last person said lots of chopping boards are made from it.
 

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Purple heart

I read some where long ago that purple heart is toxic. That it should be used covered with a varnish or such to contain it's toxicity. The fact that many use this wood for chopping boards is not a sign that they did research. I once went to a sushi bar in a California mall that had purple heart borders on roofing over the sushi display. It was an all you can eat place. For some reason googling this info does not seem to come up. I was shocked to have read that this wood is toxic as it is used in laminating and now fingerboards for expensive guitars. I wish someone would finally figure out if this is a safe wood. It's a nice naturally colored wood. Throughout history man has used materials that in the end shortened his life span. Lead vats for wine, lead in crystal ware..lead in paint.
 

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wood toxicity

Somewhere along the line, I've read that not only purpleheart, but many of those exotic woods contain toxins which are unsafe for consumption. I agree that they are often used in cutting boards, etc., but how many woodworkers do you know, selling these items at craft shows, have a working knowledge of toxicology? They do have oils in them, which can readily leech into food.

That said, You can research it, but when it comes down to it, it's a matter of what you choose to believe. Unless you do the tox tests yourself, you're taking someone's word for it. So, I'd say, ask yourself how much food contact the item in question will have. What types of food? If it's just flour, leeching will be negligible, if at all. If it's moistened, leeching is more of a likelihood. How much leeching is the key question. And if it's acidic foods, it poses a different chemical reaction issue. And how much of these toxins would it take, over how long a period, for it to be significant.

I was a baker for 11 years. All of our tables and rolling pins were maple. Based on what I've read, it is a completely non-toxic, non-reactive wood. And it is the industry standard for wooden tables and pins. Although beech is often used in rolling pins, also. Despite the prettiness of the exotics, I always use maple for such items.

Mark
http://markmeyerwoodworking.com
 

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Somewhere along the line, I've read that not only purpleheart, but many of those exotic woods contain toxins which are unsafe for consumption. I agree that they are often used in cutting boards, etc., but how many woodworkers do you know, selling these items at craft shows, have a working knowledge of toxicology? They do have oils in them, which can readily leech into food.

That said, You can research it, but when it comes down to it, it's a matter of what you choose to believe. Unless you do the tox tests yourself, you're taking someone's word for it. So, I'd say, ask yourself how much food contact the item in question will have. What types of food? If it's just flour, leeching will be negligible, if at all. If it's moistened, leeching is more of a likelihood. How much leeching is the key question. And if it's acidic foods, it poses a different chemical reaction issue. And how much of these toxins would it take, over how long a period, for it to be significant.

I was a baker for 11 years. All of our tables and rolling pins were maple. Based on what I've read, it is a completely non-toxic, non-reactive wood. And it is the industry standard for wooden tables and pins. Although beech is often used in rolling pins, also. Despite the prettiness of the exotics, I always use maple for such items.

Mark
http://markmeyerwoodworking.com
It's best to use a tried and true method of handling food. If esoteric tastes in design of food handling utensils is a priority, then caveat emptor.
 

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Just call me Sir
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I can never understand people that go on about what might or might not be harmfull, if we spent all our time worring might as well shoot ourselfs now, your ment to use several food boards for different foods because of cross comtamination how many of us do, wine **** and god knows what eles not a day that goes by that someone has something to say, global warming ha. if a search on google or other comes up with nothing and there are lists of woods that are toxic and the degree of it as well, if you still think they are toxic dont use them find something eles, how many people have been affected that have been near to asbestos, my garage roof is still asbestos and is part of my workshop, i have been in there for years, my only health problem is arthritus and such which comes for climbing falls over the years of climbing. If not sure don't use other to that get on with your life.
 

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There's nothing wrong with wanting to protect yourself. We hurdle through space at the risk of getting sucked in by a black hole or smacked by a meteor but thank heaven someone monitors all the debris and whatnot floating around in space that may turn us all into dinosaurs. Cautious is one thing careless is another. To err on the side of caution is what keeps anything alive.
 

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Purple heart

I read some where long ago that purple heart is toxic. That it should be used covered with a varnish or such to contain it's toxicity. The fact that many use this wood for chopping boards is not a sign that they did research. I once went to a sushi bar in a California mall that had purple heart borders on roofing over the sushi display. It was an all you can eat place. For some reason googling this info does not seem to come up. I was shocked to have read that this wood is toxic as it is used in laminating and now fingerboards for expensive guitars. I wish someone would finally figure out if this is a safe wood. It's a nice naturally colored wood. Throughout history man has used materials that in the end shortened his life span. Lead vats for wine, lead in crystal ware..lead in paint.
Here is a link to some interesting research on using the purple from the wood as a food colorant. Purple pigment from Peltogyne mexicana heartwood as a potential colorant for food
 

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wood toxicity

Somewhere along the line, I've read that not only purpleheart, but many of those exotic woods contain toxins which are unsafe for consumption. I agree that they are often used in cutting boards, etc., but how many woodworkers do you know, selling these items at craft shows, have a working knowledge of toxicology? They do have oils in them, which can readily leech into food.

That said, You can research it, but when it comes down to it, it's a matter of what you choose to believe. Unless you do the tox tests yourself, you're taking someone's word for it. So, I'd say, ask yourself how much food contact the item in question will have. What types of food? If it's just flour, leeching will be negligible, if at all. If it's moistened, leeching is more of a likelihood. How much leeching is the key question. And if it's acidic foods, it poses a different chemical reaction issue. And how much of these toxins would it take, over how long a period, for it to be significant.

I was a baker for 11 years. All of our tables and rolling pins were maple. Based on what I've read, it is a completely non-toxic, non-reactive wood. And it is the industry standard for wooden tables and pins. Although beech is often used in rolling pins, also. Despite the prettiness of the exotics, I always use maple for such items.

Mark
Mark Meyer Woodworking
There are toxins in many woods. That isn’t to say that they are not safe for consumption. The hard maple is excellent for boards and pins because it is so tightly grained. Nothing gets stuck in or to it. The peltogyne tree that we get purple heartwood from is also a very dense wood producer. And, the heartwood has also been looked at for making natural food colorants. By using ethanol to extract the color from the heartwood pulp. So, it’s not the kind of toxic that we can’t allow ourselves to eat the food that contacts it.
Here is a link to the food color study. Purple pigment from Peltogyne mexicana heartwood as a potential colorant for food
 
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