Is it safe to microwave plastic?

Why you can't rely on the microwave-safe label

By Adria Vasil

Is it safe to microwave plastic?

So we’ve finally woken up to the fact that microwaving plastic baby bottles is plain tantrum-worthy. Not only does estrogen-mimicking bisphenol A (BPA) leach from polycarbonate plastic during regular use, but studies have found that one zap in the microwave can cause as much leaching as 60 to 100 rounds in the dishwasher.

Kind of erodes your confidence in the whole “microwave-safe” label, doesn’t it? Especially when you find out that no one regulates the term. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in the fall of 2008, lab-tested 10 plastic food containers for microwave leaching, they found even plastics Nos. 1, 2 and 5 had BPA leaching. These included frozen food trays, microwaveable soup containers and plastic baby food packaging. What? Isn’t BPA only in No. 7 polycarbonate plastic? Guess not.

Stay safe and follow these tips:

• Never microwave food or drinks in any plastic. Period.
• Never microwave or heat plastic wrap.
• Don’t put plastics in the dishwasher. Heat (including hot water from dishwashers) boosts leaching from purportedly dishwasher-safe polycarbonate, so who’s to say your dishwasher-safe plastic won’t leach when someone decides to test that too.

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Excerpted from Ecoholic Home Copyright © 2009 by Adria Vasil. Excerpted by permission of Vintage Can

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