Most mornings, I microwave oatmeal for breakfast.  I’ve been using a plastic bowl.

Most lunches are also microwaved in the same bowls.

One of the bowls starting bulging out of shape, so I figured it was time to get new bowls.

Then I remembered what I had heard about plastic bowls in microwaves – that the chemicals inside the bowls leach into our food.

So, I bought some shiny new GLASS bowls.

Here is what the Harvard Medical School has to say about cooking with plastic.

Microwaving food in plastic: Dangerous or not?

bowlWhen food is wrapped in plastic or placed in a plastic container and microwaved, substances used in manufacturing the plastic (plasticizers) may leak into the food. In particular, fatty foods such as meats and cheeses cause a chemical called diethylhexyl adipate to leach out of the plastic.

. . . . . The FDA, recognizing the potential for small amounts of plasticizers to migrate, closely regulates plastic containers and materials that come into contact with food. The FDA  requires that manufacturers test these containers and that those tests meet FDA standards and specifications.  It then review the test data before approving a container.

Some of these tests measure the migration of chemicals at temperatures that the container or wrap is likely to encounter during ordinary use. For microwave approval, 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. The scientists then measure the chemicals that leach out and the extent to which they migrate to different kinds of foods. The maximum allowable amount is 100–1,000 times less per pound of body weight than the amount shown to harm laboratory animals over a lifetime of use. Only containers that pass this test can display a microwave-safe icon, the words “microwave safe,” or words to the effect that they’re approved for use in microwave ovens.

What about containers without a microwave-safe label? Only those containers labeled “microwave safe” have been tested and found safe for that purpose. A container that’s not labeled safe for microwave use isn’t necessarily unsafe; the FDA simply hasn’t determined whether it is or not.

(I checked my plastic bowls – they were made in Israel, so none of the above applies.  However, I am now cooking with glass!)




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