The Latest on COVID-19 - Coronavirus. (updated April 6) Learn more >>
Visitor restrictions and screening process. Learn more >>
If your fridge is anything like ours, you’ll find last night’s dinner in a plastic container, Ziploc bag or on a plate wrapped in plastic. Rule number one of re-warming food has always been to avoid reheating in plastic, but is warming food in plastic really bad for our health or is it all a hoax?
Over the past several years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been researching whether two chemicals found in plastic, bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates, seep into our food when warmed in the microwave and increase cancer risk. Both BPA and phthalates help make plastic the product that it is. BPA is the chemical used to make polycarbonate, or the plastic material that stores your food, while the chemical phthalates helps make the plastic flexible.
BPA enters our body mainly through food and beverages that have been in contact with polycarbonate. Items like certain water bottles, infant bottles, compact discs, and impact-resistant safety equipment contain BPA.
Exposure to BPA and phthalates is a concern because of possible health effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland. Because of this, many products have tried to remove BPA entirely.
Recent studies have determined that low levels of exposure to BPA is safe for our bodies and that trace amounts of the chemical that enter the body (whether in an adult or child) are rapidly metabolized and eliminated.
Still, if we can limit our exposure to BPA and its potentially toxic effects, we should. When warming or cooking in the microwave, you can reduce your exposure to chemicals by:
You can also try to be BPA-free by:
If you are concerned about heating or re-heating plastic, it is always safe to transfer your food to a microwave-safe plate.
What are your tips for cooking safely? Tell us in the below comments.
Read more cancer urban legends.
Learn about cancer care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
If you have reached this screen, your current device or browser is unable to access the full Edward-Elmhurst Health Web site.
To see the full site, please upgrade your browser to the most recent version of Safari, Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer. If you cannot upgrade your browser, you can remain on this site.