Do you use plastics in the microwave? Here’s why you may want to rethink this practice – even if it says “microwave safe”.
It’s so easy to pop breakfast or lunch into the microwave and have it hot and ready to eat in only minutes; but if you’re microwaving foods in plastic containers you may be doing yourself a disservice. The reality is that even microwaveable plastics designed to go into the microwave can release a hefty dose of the much scrutinized chemical BPA when they’re exposed to heat.
Microwaveable Plastics and BPA: What’s BPA?
BPA or bisphenol-A is a component found in many plastic containers – including microwaveable cups, plates, and bowls. When BPA gets into the body it exerts some of its negative health effects by altering hormone levels – leading to problems such as infertility and even some types of cancer. Some companies have already started removing BPA from their products because of health concerns.
Aren’t Microwaveable Plastics Safe?
Many people believe that microwaveable plastics are okay because they’re labeled as microwave safe – but evidence suggests otherwise. Many experts believe that any time you heat plastics you’re getting breakdown of components that can leach into food and cause health problems. After all, plastic isn’t a natural substance. One way you can tell if microwaveable plastics such as bowls, cups, and plates contain BPA is to look for a number stamped on the bottom or side of the container. If you see a 1, 2, 5, or 7, it probably has BPA. Even washing a microwave safe plastic bowl containing BPA in a dishwasher can release this unhealthy chemical.
What About Microwave Safe Plastic Bowls without BPA?
Even if you’re using microwave safe plastic bowls that don’t contain BPA, it’s not healthy to heat them since the breakdown of any plastic that can potentially leach into food could pose a health risk. The best alternative is to use a glass or ceramic container when you heat foods in a microwave. Even the trays used to hold frozen dinners are best removed from their pans and placed into ceramic or glass before microwaving.
The Truth About Microwaveable Plastics
As you can see, the term “microwaveable plastics” doesn’t imply that it’s safe from a health standpoint, only that’ll hold up to the heat of the microwave oven without losing its shape or causing a bad burn when you touch the pan. In terms of health risks – it tells you nothing.
The Bottom Line?
The next time you’re shopping for kitchenware, look for ceramic or glass containers you can use for safe microwaving. It’s a safer alternative to plastic.
Published in: Consumer Information