Learn if microwaving your food with plastic film wraps is bad for your health. Microwaving with plastic wraps prevents food from spilling all over your microwave and makes heating your food faster. Yet, there is the risk of the plastic getting into your food and therefore, may harm you.
The number one question concerning microwaving with plastic film wraps is: Is it bad for your health to wrap your food with plastic wraps when heating your food in the microwave?
When heating foods on high temperatures in the microwave, there is a chance that plastic chemicals from the plastic wrap may get into your food. The plastic that you are eating not only makes your food taste bad but more importantly, maybe harmful for your body. These chemicals may cause cancer, hormonal disruption, or other diseases.
Plastics that are clingy or that are tightly sealed to your food contain chemicals that thought to be bad for your health. These chemicals are from PVCs or polyvinyl chloride which is a plasticizer that is used to make plastic wraps more clingy or better at tightly wrapping your food.
Dr. George Pauli, a lead Food and Drug Administration scientist, acknowledges that some plasticizers do migrate into foods especially into foods that contain a lot of fat, oil, and sugar. Yet, one research study did not find any harmful effects from the consumption of plasticizers in FDA-approved plastic wraps.
Furthermore, it is thought that plastic films out on the market are considered safe for household use. Dr. Donald Schlimme, of the University of Maryland Nutrition and Food Science Department, noted that “It is virtually impossible that commercially available food wrap plastic films are in the market place without appropriate compliance with all U.S. FDA regulations”.
Moreover, Dr. Schlimme points out that military food rations or the MRE rations (Meals Ready to Eat) are packaged in plastic polymer pouches and are heated to 260 degrees; yet, they do not produce any harmful effects. This makes one think that it is fine to microwave foods that are wrapped with plastic films.
On the other hand, you might want to hold off that thought for a moment. Groups such as the Public Interest Research Group, believes that there are high amounts of carcinogenic compounds in plastic food wraps. More alarming are the Dietary Managers Association which reported that plastics, in fact, are not designed for microwaving; this includes plastic wraps because they contain plasticizers which will release harmful chemicals into food when heated at high temperatures.
On the other end of the spectrum is the FDA supervisory chemist, Dr. Charles Breder. He says that even if you did eat the plastic that got into your food, it does not produce harmful effects to your health.
So what are we do believe and how should we go about the issue? Many will probably continue to use plastic wraps when microwaving; whether for convenience sake of not taking out the wrapper on the left over food from the fridge or to save one from cleaning up the potential mess in the microwave if the food was unwrapped. Thereupon, I suggest being more cautious when using plastic wraps to protect your health incase plasticizers do turn out to be harmful to your body.
A safe rule to keep in mind for using plastic wraps to cover your food when you are microwaving is to keep the plastic from touching your food. This will reduce the chances of the plastic chemicals getting into your food which may turn out to be harmful to your body.
An alternative is to cover the leftovers in the fridge with paper towels and when you are microwaving. You can also use waxed paper instead of plastic wrap. The trick to heating food covered with plastic wraps in the microwave is to keep the plastic wrap well above the food, but at the same time, use as shallow a bowl as possible to optimize uniform heating.
TV dinners, instant noodles and any other packaged food that come in plastic containers should be moved to your regular non-plastic bowls for heating. Even restaurants switched from foam containers to paper because of the dioxin problem. Thus, save your safe from worries by taking the prudent step to moving your food to a bowl of better material.
Saran Wrap, Glad Wrap, and Handi Wrap switched from PVC to better, cleaner LDPE material a few years ago.
LDPE stands for low-density polyethylene.
(HDPE) high-density polyethylene is in recycled containers such as milk jugs, motor oil containers, and yogurt tubs.
“To Microwave or Not to Microwave…”DailyDanny.com
“A bad wrap for microwaving food?”Hearst Seattle Media, LLC
“Microwaves, Plastics and Dioxins… OH MY!” BreakTheChain.org
“Using plastic wrap safely” Supereco.com