How Bad Is It Really to Microwave Plastic? | livestrong

Illustration of a hamburger in a plastic container in the microwave, to represent the dangers of microwaving plastic You ca n’t microwave credit card without the gamble of chemicals leaching into your food.

Image Credit: Creative How Bad Is It actually ? sets the record square on all the habits and behaviors you ’ ve hear might be unhealthy. credit card containers are a convenient way to store food. And hey, who among us has n’t tossed a Tupperware of cold pizza into the microwave for a quick nuke ? But while the habit is commonplace, heating plastic may not be so good for our health .
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The shortstop of it is this : Although you can put formative in the microwave, these containers are made of chemicals that can potentially be harmful to your wellbeing .
We spoke to Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD, medical toxicology doctor and co-medical conductor at the National Capital Poison Center, to get the dope on whether you can microwave formative ( plus safer ways to reheat final night ‘s leftovers ) .

Chemical Leaching

so, can you put plastic in the microwave ? Well, indisputable — at one point or another, most of us have. But equitable because you can does n’t mean you should .
That ‘s because a microwave ‘s high temperatures can cause chemicals to leach out of credit card, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences ( NIEHS ) .
ad One of the most common offenders is a chemical called bisphenol A ( BPA ), which is a unconstipated part of credit card food containers, water bottles and personal care products, per the NIEHS. As plastics break down in the microwave, the chemical can leach into your food and, as a solution, your consistency, Dr. Johnson-Arbor says .
ad BPA is n’t the only chemical of concern : Phthalates — which gives credit card containers their flexibility and lastingness — can besides leach into food, per the Washington State Department of Health .
exposure to phthalates has been shown to affect animals ‘ generative systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. however, it ‘s not so far clean how this chemical affects homo health specifically .


Chemical leach does n’t barely happen in the microwave — it can besides occur if credit card is heated in any way or gets damaged ( remember : scratches or wrinkles ), according to the National Poison Control Center. That ‘s why reusing fictile water bottles is not recommended .

Potential Health Effects of Chemical Leaching

besides much exposure to chemicals in plastic — particularly BPA — has been linked to sealed health problems. BPA specifically is chiefly connected to health issues in children, according to the Columbia Center for Children ‘s Environmental Health .
still, it ‘s wise to skip microwaving plastic careless of your old age to avoid these potential complications :

1. Hormone Disruption

“ Some bisphenol compounds can act within the human body as endocrine disruptors, which means that they can potentially affect richness, puberty and even cancer development, ” Dr. Johnson-Arbor says .
For case, BPA can mimic hormones like estrogen, which can lead to changes in cell behavior that have been linked to cancer development and progress, according to January 2015 research in ​Medicine​ .

2. Learning, Behavior and Mood Disorders

According to the Columbia Center for Children ‘s Environmental Health, exposure to BPA can put kids at increased risk for developing certain learning, behavioral and temper disorders because their brains are silent developing .
These conditions may include :

  • Learning and behavior disorders like ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

3. Other Diseases

Per the Columbia Center for Children ‘s Environmental Health, BPA exposure has besides been linked to conditions including :

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease


If you must use a plastic food container or another plastic vessel ( like a water bottle ), make surely it ‘s labeled “ BPA-free ” to avoid possible health issues, according to the Columbia Center for Children ‘s Environmental Health .

Doctor-Recommended Alternatives

indeed, even though credit card can technically go in the microwave, it ‘s best to use a different food container. In stead of fictile portables, try these expert-recommended alternatives rather :

1. Glass Containers

Dr. Johnson-Arbor recommends the use of glass or ceramic containers. That ‘s because glass is made to withstand high microwave temperatures without breaking and has a non-porous come on that does n’t allow liquid or other fluids to flow through it .

2. Paper Plates

not all non-reusable plates can be microwaved, which is why paper plates are frequently a safe choice, Dr. Johnson-Arbor says .
just beware of paper plates that have a formative coat, as those are not microwave-safe, she says .

3. Stainless Steel Containers

While stainless steel sword containers can not be microwaved, they are a dependable choice if you ‘re looking to store your food before or after it hits the microwave .
“ Eco-friendly containers that do not have a credit card or chemical coating are besides safe alternatives, ” Dr. Johnson-Arbor says .

So, How Bad Is It Really to Microwave Plastic?

While it ‘s common drill to microwave fictile, it ‘s best to avoid the habit due to the potentially dangerous effects of leaching chemicals .
rather, Dr. Johnson-Arbor recommends using methamphetamine containers because they ‘re made to withstand microwave estrus and prevent leach. Ceramic and newspaper plates ( without credit card coating ) are another great alternate.

But if you ca n’t avoid microwaving credit card, at least take Dr. Johnson-Arbor ‘s advice : “ If you use formative containers, make sure they are microwave-safe, ” she says. This means picking BPA-free containers that wo n’t melt or warp under heat .