View Full Version : Is it safe putting plastic in a microvave?
14th January 2003, 09:37 AM
I was in the lunchroom heating up my lunch in a plastic tupperware-type dish and a co-worker told me that it was unhealthy to make a habit of eating stuff that was heated up in a plastic container and that glass containers are better instead. I had never heard this before but it sounds conceivable that the container type you use could make a difference (and it sounds conceivable that it couldn't too). So, anybody know about this stuff?
14th January 2003, 10:49 AM
I have no special knowledge about this, but the Food Safety and Inspection Service (http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/pubs/fact_microwave.htm) recommends only using plastic that is labeled as microwave safe. Apparently if the plastic melts then it can "caus[e] harmful chemicals to migrate into the food."
Mahatma Kane Jeeves
14th January 2003, 10:52 AM
Plastics and the Microwave (http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/fdacplas.html)
Machuga says that consumers should be sure to use any plastics for their intended purpose and in accordance with directions. If you don't find instructions for microwave use, you should use a different plate or container that you know is microwave-safe. Such containers are made to withstand high temperatures.
For example, carryout containers from restaurants and margarine tubs should not be used in the microwave, according to the American Plastics Council. Inappropriate containers may melt or warp, which can increase the likelihood of spills and burns. Also, discard containers that hold prepared microwavable meals after you use them because they are meant for one-time use.
Microwave-safe plastic wrap should be placed loosely over food so that steam can escape, and should not directly touch your food. "Some plastic wraps have labels indicating that there should be a one-inch or greater space between the plastic and the food during microwave heating," Machuga says.
14th January 2003, 03:09 PM
You material scientists correct me if I'm wrong. Most pure plastics are hard, brittle stuff, but are made flexible and tougher by substance called "plasticizers". Apparently, it's these plasticizers that are toxic and can be elaborated through moderate heat.:eek:
I'm guilty of heating food in the original plastic, maybe that's why I'm so strange.
14th January 2003, 03:32 PM
Oh my...I guess from now on this means that I'm going to have to eat my plastic raw!
14th January 2003, 10:11 PM
It all depends on the type of plastic. The polythene group of plastics can be made flexible without the use of harmful phtalates, but not all types in the group are resistant to microwaves (some will melt). Plastic containers used in microovens should be labelled as microwave safe and should be of good quality.
I hate to endorse a specific product, but Tubberware products are in general of excellent quality (they should be, considering the exorbitant pricing).
Glass containers are always safe.
16th January 2003, 02:50 PM
I assume we're not talking about plastic explosive ?
16th January 2003, 10:08 PM
The most common phthalate used to soften plastics is DEHP. Although originally listed as a possible human carcinogen, in 2000 the World Health Organization downgraded it to a non-carcinogen. And this was several years after the science showed it to be safe. The problem was that at high concentrations, it caused cancers in rodents. But the mechanism for causing those cancers was understood and didn't apply to humans.
The US EPA still lists it as a probable human carcinogen based on those rodent studies alone.
As for toxicity (instead of carcinogenicity), DEHP has been found to cause some problems in rats at very high levels, but is not expected to cause harm to humans because our exposures are *much* lower and the absorption and breakdown of DEHP are different in humans.
6th June 2003, 06:39 PM
I just came across a book called Detoxify or Die and it was yelling about pthalates and plastics and how poisonous they are so I wanted to find out the scoop. After looking at that ATSDR website I dont find the results that conclusive. Both the Department of Health and Human services, and the EPA determine it is a probable human carcinogen, but then they double back to say that humans metabolize differently so they really dont know for sure--basically.
Am I getting the gist of it?
anyway they mention something about prolonged exposure...how many generations of rats did they breed on low dosages to determine if there are any effects ten generations down the line?
and maybe I am getting a little wacky here, but has anyone tested to see what happens when rats are exposed to DEHP plus all the other possibly carcinogenic chemicals all at once over several generations?
I am curious because I remember a short clip on the nightly news about a year ago, about a research group that tested people to see how many man made chemicals could possibly be circulating throughout the average person at any given time. Does any one remember that?...actually it was a local thing so maybe not....
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