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No matter where you are in the world today. It is not difficult to find a microwave oven in the kitchen. It has now become a necessity for quick cooking and heating up of food even at the workplace and restaurants.
But how many times do you make sure that the container that goes into the microwave is safe and food grade? Well, this new information will make you think twice about using plastic containers in the microwave again.
Plastic containers are hazardous for human health. Scientists reveal that heating or microwaving food in plastic containers can trigger infertility, cancer, obesity, and hypertension.
According to a study done in the Harvard medical school, microwaved plastic releases a chemical called dioxins into the food. 'Dioxin' is a chemical produced when substances like garbage, plastic, wood, metals are burnt.
Therefore, plastic, when heated along with the food inside a microwave, produces dioxins into the food, which is one of the root causes of cancer. It is indeed necessary to reduce the use of plastics to minimize health risks.
95% of all the chemicals in plastic are released when it's heated. There is a higher risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and even cancer as revealed by the dietitian.
Why You Shouldn't Use Plastic Containers To Heat Food In A Microwave?
Plastic is basically a mixture made from an array of organic and inorganic compounds. Most plastics are based on the carbon atom. Carbon atoms are connected and substances are often added to plastic to give it a shape and stabilize the mixture.
Two additives used to make plastic are:
1) Bisphenol (BPA)
Bisphenol A is usually called hard plastic and is added to make the plastic clear. Phthalates is a substance to make plastic soft and easy. These chemicals are extremely dangerous and should be kept away from human consumption.
It is also proved that consuming these chemicals may lead to endocrine dysfunctionality, hormonal changes and infertility. The amount of migration of BPA and phthalates into the human body is usually high when food wrapped in plastic has more of fat content.
There are separate containers available for microwave use. Since the food and drug administration of US recognized the harmful effects of BPA and phthalates, they closely regulated and made a regulation to the manufacturers to test and review their containers to meet the standards of the FDA. The approved containers were then published as microwave containers.
Containers without microwave safe symbol shouldn't be used for heating inside a microwave. They are unsafe as declared by the FDA.
American society of reproductive health studied and suggests that BPA prevents embryo implantation as well, and hence it is linked to a higher level of in-vitro fertilization (IVF) failure and may also lead to frequent miscarriages. Also, a report from the FDA states that chemicals, mostly BPA, adversely affects both male and female fertility.
The tests conducted by the FDA also measures the time and temperatures that the container will be occupied inside the microwave. The agency estimates the ratio of plastic surface area to food, how long the container is likely to be in the microwave, how often a person is likely to eat from the container, and how hot the food can be expected to get during microwaving.
They also estimate the chemicals that migrate into the different kinds of foods and the extent which they migrate. The test was done on animals in the laboratory and the average result that can be expected was 100-1000 times per pound of body weight.
Only those containers which pass the above test are given the license to display microwave-safe icon or words, since they are approved for microwave-use containers.
Points to be aware of while using the microwave for heating your food:
1) Use only microwave-approved containers for heating the food in the ovens.
2) Do not let the plastic wrap or the plastic container to come in contact with the food while microwaving, as it may melt and be hazardous to the health of a consumer.
3) Wrapping food in wax paper or white paper towels are better alternatives that can be considered.
4) Microwavable dinner trays are for one-time use. Make sure to discard them after a single use.
5) Do not use broken plastic microwavable containers, as they are not preferred and are dangerous for your health.
6) Do not microwave containers along with plastic bags.
7) Keep the lid slightly open while microwaving the food.
The above article doesn't mean that the food cooked in the microwave is unsafe. It simply means that using non-microwave containers or plastics is extremely harmful to the human health and it is indeed necessary to change and avoid plastic containers in regular microwave use.