So you need to reheat your food in that plastic container but you’re wondering if it’s safe to do so? The fear is less now that you’ve confirmed it’s BPA-free.
But, is it safe to microwave BPA-free plastic? Let’s find out in this short article.
Is BPA-free Plastic Safe in The Microwave?
Not really. BPA is just one example of plastic constituents that leach chemicals into food.
This is because removing BPA is the easiest thing for manufacturers, but they swap it for another chemical that creates the same flexibility in their plastics.
Your BPA-free container could have chemicals like bisphenol S (BPS), which is also harmful to your health.
Even worse, BPA-free plastics can be as toxic as BPA, and in many cases, there is minimal knowledge about them or their effects.
BPA-free plastics have the ability to create BPA through daily wear and everyday environmental stressors as a byproduct.
So it’s not safe to toss BPA-free plastics into the microwave because they might have generated BPA on top of the existing chemical makeup.
What Happens if You Microwave BPA-free Plastic?
If you microwave BPA-free plastic, chemical makeup in the plastic container may leach into your food or beverages. This means that chemicals leach into your food and drinks faster and in higher concentration when you expose the plastic to heating in a microwave.
This means your body becomes susceptible to higher doses of potentially harmful chemicals as the microwave heats up your BPA-free container at intense heat.
Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of this and frequently microwave leftovers in plastic containers.
What’s even sad is that the more you expose yourself to food heated in microwave plastic containers, the higher the risk of contracting hazardous infections.
Is Food in BPA-free Plastics Safe For Consumption?
Yes, the FDA states that food with very low levels of BPA is safe for consumption. So the FDA labels plastics that can withhold food for safe consumption “BPA-free.”
This means you can eat food in food-grade plastics with no problem. But don’t always believe what you read.
Even dishes and bottles with BPA-free code may contain chemicals that can leach into your food. This simply means that even BPA-free plastics are not absolutely safe for use.
Considering BPA-free plastic a 100% safe is like saying that a “lion-free cage” is safe, forgetting there are still tigers and bears!
As you’re starting to glean, BPA-free labels don’t always mean much. There are chances that plastic indicated to be BPA-free contains BPA in addition to other chemicals.
Yes, even the ones indicated to be BPA-free contain BPA.
Even that plastic water bottle or food container you are preserving for later use could be harnessing chemicals. Being truly BPA-free doesn’t make it safe from the chemical.
Microwaving such a container puts you a step close to health issues involving:
One of the chemicals that causes the above is called phthalates. It reduces sperm count in men and animals and increases the chances of contracting the above disorders.
Can BPA-free Plastic Melt in the Microwave?
Yes, plastic can melt or warp in the microwave. Harmful chemicals may then leach into your food and drinks.
The microwave is a powerful and convenient appliance that aids in cooking needs. It makes cooking, reheating, defrosting, and melting faster and more efficient.
Being a ubiquitous material, plastic is widely used for food storage in residential and commercial kitchens.
It has also become common in microwaving food and drinks in most households and commercial kitchens.
The unfortunate truth is that using plastic to reheat or cook in the microwave may cause the plastic to melt or warp to a certain extent.
When the plastic melts, harmful chemicals find their way into your food or drinks, which may invite negative health impacts.
Most people cook food with high sugar content like molasses or fat-rich food like bacon in a microwave. Sugary and fatty foods cook at higher temperatures than boiling water, reaching temperatures that will quickly melt plastic containers.
If you use thin plastic, you’ll notice that it loses its shape after nuking in the microwave.
The loss of shape isn’t as dangerous as the leaching of chemicals into your food. Melted plastic causes more than microwave damage.
What Happens When Plastic Containers Melt or Warp in Your Microwave?
If you’re cooking or reheating at extremely high temperatures, your plastic container can melt or warp. Melted plastic is dangerous to your food or drinks because it leaches chemicals to your food or drinks.
If you fancy sugary and fatty food you might have realized that they require more heat than that of boiling water to cook. As the temperature in your microwave goes up, the likelihood of a plastic container to melt takes the same course.
In most cases, you may not easily realize the effect of this on your container. Your food may then have chemical content without you knowing.
But if you’re lucky, you may notice a change in shape of your plastic container when it heats up beyond the melting point of water.
Either way, the melted plastics get to your food or drink and spread chemicals that cause severe health complications.
Some of these include reproductive problems and cancerous infections.
On top of that, melted plastic is one of the deadliest damage in your microwave. Not only is the damage gross, but I can also slow down the working of your appliance.
So, when thinking of the effects of microwaving plastic containers, it is essential you note these grisly impacts on your microwave.
These effects are there even in plastics labeled as BPA-free. Lack of BPA doesn’t make them lesser or better plastics: they still have other chemical components that could cause even worse health complications when they reach your food or drinks.
And they are also capable of melting into your microwave and causing you damage, even if they don’t have BPA constituent.
That said, you should always handle any type of plastic with care. Don’t be confident because it is marked BPA-free or microwave-safe.
Follow the specific microwaving instructions from the manufacturer to be on the safe side.
How to Microwave a BPA-free Plastic to Prevent Melting
The first consideration should be the BPA-free mark on your container. Check if your dish or plate has this label before tossing it into your microwave.
You should also check the container guidelines to see if the manufacturer has approved its use in the microwave. If these writings are not there, please don’t assume it is okay to toss your container into the microwave.
The next vital step is to ensure your food is in small portions to avoid overheating. So cut everything in small portions before placing it in your plastic plate or dish.
When taking everything into the microwave, remember to change the setting to half power. You’ll find this instruction in most plastic containers because manufacturers consider heating at a higher setting dangerous.
Remember plastics melt at those high temperatures, and a high power setting will accelerate this reaction.
To be more certain, you must have knowledge of the plastics that are microwave-safe to avoid assuming and prevent negative impacts of microwaving plastics.
Which Plastic is Microwave-safe?
When choosing a microwavable BPA-free plastic, you must be very careful. Start by checking the label to identify the type of plastic compound used in the container.
Check the bottom of your container to see the synthetic material used. The recycling number directly relates to the chemical composition.
- 1, 2, 4 are sometimes safe to microwave.
- 5 is polypropylene and is safe to microwave.
- 3, 6, 7 are not safe to microwave.
It is always advisable to avoid placing type 7 polycarbonate, type 6 polystyrene, and type 3 PVC on a microwave oven. They are carcinogenic, so capable of leaching BPA into your food and causing severe health complications.
There are also products made of type 4 low-density polyethylene, type 2 high-density polyethylene, and type 1 polyethylene terephthalate. The manufacturers of these plastics claim they’re 100% microwave-safe.
These plastics have chemicals that make them highly resistant to melting. So they’re microwave-safe.
But they’re sometimes blended with other compounds to make plastic containers for commercially made products like yogurt, making them not 100% BPA-free.
The best microwave BPA-free plastic is the type 5 polypropylene. Regarding microwave durability, type 5 plastic is the most reliable choice for you.
It is sturdy and highly heat resilient, so it stays clear even under exposure to high heat. Even after nuking the type 5 plastic for an extended time, it remains cool.
That said, type 5 plastic can withstand higher temperatures than other compounds. So you don’t have to worry about melting when using a type-5 plastic.
Not all plastics can go into the microwave.
Please follow through the steps listed above to find out if your BPA-free plastic container is microwavable.
Kindly don’t assume that you can nuke the container just because it is labeled BPA-free. Let the given information guide your judgment.