Is plastic safe for the microwave?
Food spatters in the microwave, leaving a mess. So we do what everyone does – we cover it. But what we cover our food with can leach into it and damage our bodies.
No, no deaths have been reported as directly caused by plastic chemical leakage. But breast cancer, obesity and early onset puberty are more prevalent in developed countries, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
Phthalates, the chemicals that make a plastic container flexible, can be absorbed by food when it’s heated. These chemicals have been related to hormone imbalances and birth defects, and are “present in measurable levels in the blood of nearly every person in the developed world,” according to the doctor cited in this Wall Street Journal article.
You’ve probably heard of BPA, which is increasingly being removed from baby bottles and water bottles. That chemical originally began as a potential estrogen replacement. Low doses of BPA have been linked to birth defects of reproductive systems in laboratory animals, according to the Environmental Working Group. Even though S.C. Johnson, the makers of Saran Wrap, says it doesn’t use BPA in its products, that’s not the only chemical out there.
Heating food in plastic is taking an unnecessary risk, and one I would rather avoid. Just eat raw food! Problem solved! Right? Okay, if you’re not quite ready to commit to quit cooking cold-turkey (pun intended), here are some more palatable solutions:
- Use unleaded glass or ceramic bowls with lids instead of plastic containers or plastic wrap.
- Paper towels make great – and safe – covers!
- If you must use plastic to re-heat, make sure it’s new and in good condition, and avoid reheating creamy, buttery, and fatty foods (they absorb more chemicals).
- Don’t keep plastic water bottles in your car for drinking later.