December 21st, 2010

Microwave Safe: Are Toxins Leaking Into Your Food?

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I love Trader Joe’s for many of the same reasons this  guy is singing about in this quirky, unauthorized commercial for TJ’s.

Hopefully the tune is now swimming around in your head, as it is in mine (misery loves company). But today my love for TJ’s was tossed aside and all I felt was anger. While opening my newly acquired bag of  brussel sprouts, I noticed that the plastic bag was labeled “Microwavable Bag –Ready in 3 Minutes”. In fairness to TJ’s, similar bags of sprouts and other veggies are sold at other stores, but the TJ’s label happened to be on this particular bag.

I’m angry because those simple words on their bag are misleading-they are telling people that it is OK to cook their food in a plastic bag. IT IS NOT OK. The truth is IT ISN’T KNOWN how much risk there is in low-level exposure to plasticizers or chemicals in plastic containers and bags.

We need to stop heating anything in plastic-microwavable plastic-all plastic. Heat from a microwave (oven and dishwasher too) causes substances used in manufacturing the plastic (plasticizers) to possibly leak into our food.  Beth Terry over at Fake Plastic Fish has taken a remarkable vow to to live with as little unnecessary plastic as possible.

Beth says : Stop heating plastic. Period. Do not put it in the microwave. Do not put it in the oven. Do not put it in the dishwasher, even on the top rack. Heat causes plastics to leach more readily. If you must eat food from plastic containers, please hand wash them with warm (not hot) water. Do not serve hot food in them ever. And, if you’re still buying bottled beverages (you’re not, right?), never store them in the hot trunk of a car.”

A few years back the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tested 10 plastics labeled “microwave safe”.  All 10 products were found to release “toxic doses” of Bisphenol A (BPA) when heated in a microwave. The study found that the amounts detected were at levels that scientists have found cause neurological and developmental damage in laboratory animals.

Just because your food packaging says “microwave safe” it may not be. The term  is not regulated by the government and has no certifiable meaning.

Take the safe route and avoid putting any plastic in the microwave. Stick to glass or ceramics.

BTW-I still love Trader Joe’s…….once I vent I don’t usually hold a grudge.

What do you think about microwaving in plastic?

For more information on plastic in the microwave:

11 Surprising Facts and Myths About Microwave Ovens

Plastic in the Microwave: Is BPA in Your Dinner?

5 Responses to “Microwave Safe: Are Toxins Leaking Into Your Food?”

  1. Lori,

    Thanks for this important alert! I don’t use much plastic. Nevertheless, it would never occur to me not to put plastic in the dishwasher or to wash it with hot water. Thanks so much.

  2. You are welcome Sandra. Good rule of thumb-never heat any plastic that comes in contact with your food. Thanks so much for your comment!

  3. Do you think the cardboard containers from trader joes, Amy’s brand etc…. Are safe to microwave? They have what seems to be a slight plastic like coating on the insides where your food sits.

  4. Great question Arielle. I’m not sure what Trader Joes is using in the lining. If TJs is using Tetra for their cardboard containers, all Tetra Paks are BPA-free. However, the waxy lining is many times some form of plastic. I wouldn’t suggest microwaving any of those boxes in the microwave.

  5. […] microwave is (now was) a complete disaster. We don’t use it very often, but when we do everything seems to explode. And it’s generally not a mini explosion. […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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