Microwaving plastic does not cause cancer

Priscilla Ellis, 61, a Boston psychologist and mediator, was leery the minute she opened the mass electronic mail. And with good rationality. It was an old e-rumor that has picked up steam recently, alleging that microwaving food in plastic containers releases dioxin, a carcinogen, or cancer-causing agentive role.

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The e-mail noted that the warn about dioxin had been sent out in a newsletter from Johns Hopkins, the esteemed checkup institution in Baltimore, and that similar information was “ being circulated ” at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. The e-mail added that freezing body of water in formative bottles besides releases dioxin. wrong, incorrect, wrong.

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even amid the growing barrage of presumably well-intentioned health “ warnings ” now flying around internet, this one is a doozy. A Johns Hopkins spokesman called the e-mail a “ fraud, ” adding, “ It was never in our newsletter. ” A Walter Reed spokeswoman had never even heard of it. Put bluffly, there is “ no dioxin in plastic, that ‘s absolutely crazy, ” said George Pauli, consociate film director for science and policy at the office of food linear safety at the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA reviews all substances that are designed to come into liaison with food, he added, noting that there is nothing in credit card food containers that appears to be a concern. “ We would take action if there were, ” Pauli declared. furthermore, dioxin is not body of water soluble, indeed, tied if there were dioxin in plastic containers, it would be more likely to stay in the fictile than dissolve in the water. obviously, dioxin is dangerous – it is considered a human carcinogen. But the major dioxin exposure to humans comes not from credit card but from eating animal fat, said EPA policy analyst Dwain Winters. Animals pick up dioxin by eating plants whose leaves acquire trace amounts of the chemical from the atmosphere, chiefly from combustion of fuels like wood, char or oil. Although environmental levels of dioxin have been declining through regulative efforts since the 1970s, Winters said, most of us live with a small “ body burden ” of the chemical in our systems.

so do plastics used in food cooking get a wholly clean charge of health ? not quite, but the risk is not something to lie alert worrying about. Ana Soto, a professor of cell biology at Tufts University, said that certain clear, fixed plastics made with polycarbonates can release a meaning called bisphenol-A, a kind of weak estrogen.

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In her inquiry, animal fetuses exposed to bisphenol-A may show alter development of mammary glands. Bisphenol-A, she added, can be released by heating or microwaving polycarbonate plastics, though there is no means for consumers to tell which plastics contain polycarbonates because this is not indicated on the containers. Some baby bottles are made from polycarbonate formative, noted Pauli of the FDA. But even when such bottles are heated in the microwave, FDA scientists have not been able to detect any bisphenol-A residues in the milk or formula, suggesting the products are safe. Bisphenol-A can besides leach out of the plastic line put into metallic element food cans to prevent rust. Pauli said the representation has detected very low levels of bisphenol-A in displace foods but said this does not appear to pose a health luck. And what of the fictile cling wraps used to cover leftovers ? The diaphanous fictile sheets are made with “ plasticizers, ” chemicals that make the formative more bendable. One such plasticizer, DEHA ( diethylhexyl adipate ) can leach out of cling wraps even without inflame, said Pauli of the FDA. The FDA has set standards for satisfactory, condom levels of DEHA in credit card wraps based on studies of animals fed large quantities of the chemical. Bottom agate line ? Microwave food in glass, ceramic or formative containers that are advertised ( sometimes on packaging only ) as safe for microwave practice, advises the FDA. Do not microwave food in formative containers such as margarine tub, take-out containers or early products designed for erstwhile manipulation. This fictile can melt, possibly causing chemicals to migrate into food. If you microwave food in credit card envelop, to be on the safe side, do n’t let the wrap touch the food during fudge. If you silent want to worry about microwave, you can worry about this rather : The unevenness of cooking in a microwave leaves some undercooked “ cold spots ” that may still harbor bacteria.

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Judy Foreman ‘s column appears every other workweek. past column are available on www.myhealthsense.com .