Is BPA-free plastic Microwave safe? If you search for a convincing answer to this question, you will get mixed reactions and responses in regards to the safety of microwaving plastic.
Plastic materials are made with different chemical compositions. Nowadays, manufactures have created synthetic blends that do not contain BPA, but may be just as dangerous to use in the microwave.
BPA refers to Bisphenol A, which is a chemical used to manufacture certain types of plastics and resins. Many research studies show that this chemical invites harmful health effects on the human body and brain.
As a result, manufacturers are using BPA-free plastic to make new types of products. Now, the question is, is it safe to microwave BPA free plastic? Let us explore to find the best answer to this question.
What happens if you microwave BPA-free plastic?
If you microwave BPA-free plastic, chemicals available in the plastic may get into your food or beverages. That is to say, chemicals leach into your food faster and also in higher volumes when you expose the plastic to heating in a microwave.
What does this information suggest? Your body becomes vulnerable to higher doses of potentially harmful chemical compounds with the intense heat produced inside of microwave ovens.
Unfortunately, many people frequently microwave leftovers in a plastic container. Consistent exposure to food heated in microwave plastic containers can be hazardous to your health.
Does BPA free plastic melt in a microwave?
The microwave is a very popular, powerful and convenient cooking instrument that is commonly found in most modern homes.
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, however it has been proven as a simple solution for microwaving.
When you use plastic in the microwave to cook food, the synthetic material may melt or warp to a certain extent. The potential hazards is a release of harmful bacteria and chemicals that may invite negative health effects.
Many people cook foods with high sugar content like molasses, or fat-rich food like bacon in a microwave. Sugar and fat heat to higher temperatures than boiling water, therefore these types of foods can potentially become hot enough to melt plastic containers.
If you use thin plastic, you may even find the container slightly losing its shape after one use in the microwave. Warping is common, however you don’t need to worry about plastic turning into a puddle of goo in a microwave.
The bottom line is that melting can be an issue and cause harmful health effects when the contents are heated to a temperature that BPA-free plastic won’t be able to withstand.
Is BPA free plastic still bad for you?
The FDA suggests that people make sure the plastic container is clearly labeled safe for use in the microwave. If the plastic is unlabeled, then it has not been properly tested and may not meet the safety standards required for microwave use.
Ever since BPA-free plastic became the trend, several manufacturers started making a wide range of variations, including BPZ, BPS, BPP, BPF, BHPF, BPAF, and many more. This situation makes people even more confused nowadays.
When you see “BP” in most product labels, these variations share the same fundamental chemical structure of a Bisphenol, therefore it becomes challenging to easily figure out the best choice available.
Let us come back to the question, is microwave BPA free plastic still bad for you. If you cannot figure out and differentiate between the best choices available on the market, then it can be suggested that BPA free plastic can still be bad for you.
Many BPA alternatives don’t live up to the expectations of the users. Allowing harmful bacteria and chemicals to migrate into your food, which ultimately compromise your health.
Which plastic is microwave safe?
When it comes to choosing a microwave BPA free plastic option, you need to be very careful. Start by checking the label to verify which type of plastic compound is used in the container.
When determining which type of plastic is safe to microwave, check the bottom to see what synthetic material is used. The recycling number directly relates to the chemical composition.
- 1, 2, 4 are sometimes microwave safe.
- 5 is polypropylene, PP, and is considered to be safe for microwave use.
- 3, 6, 7 are not microwave safe
It is always advisable to avoid placing type 7 polycarbonate, type 6 polystyrene, and type 3 PVC on a microwave oven. Potentially carcinogenic, these types of plastics may leach Bisphenol A into your food and cause serious health risks.
You can find many plastic products being made using type 4 low-density polyethylene, type 2 high-density polyethylene, and type 1 polyethylene terephthalate. The manufacturers of these products claim that their products are 100% microwave-safe.
Reinforced with strengthening chemicals that make them highly resistant to melting, these plastics are made microwave safe. However, they are often blended with other compounds to make plastic containers for commercially prepared products like margarine or yogurt, make them not 100% safe for use in a microwave oven.
Now, let us find the best microwave BPA free plastic option available on the market, type 5 polypropylene. In regards to microwave durability, pp plastic is the most reliable choice available for you.
Equipped with excellent sturdiness and high heat resilient properties, pp plastic stays clear even when it is exposed to high heat. Type-5 polypropylene plastic also stays cool even after being microwaved for an extended periods of time.
That is to say, it can withstand higher temperatures than other plastic compounds. So you don’t need to worry about melting when you use containers made using these polypropylene plastics.
Tips to Microwave BPA Free Plastic
Using plastic in the microwave presents apparent risks that you should be aware of. If it was completely safe, you probably wouldn’t be searching for the potential health risks associated with microwaving the synthetic material.
Here are tips to reduce the risk and microwave plastic safely:
- Use low or medium power level. Only reheat or defrost food in plastic containers. Plastic containers should not be used to cook food at high temperatures.
- Don’t leave hot food in plastic containers for too long. Whenever you use BPA free plastic containers in a microwave, you should not allow the food to sit for too long in the container. It’s best to transfer hot food or microwave food in a ceramic or glass dish.
- Use Type 5 polypropylene plastic. As mentioned above, Type 5 polypropylene does not melt easily because its resistance to high heat temperatures. If possible, select containers made using these types of plastics to enjoy healthy food.
- Don’t expose plastic containers to the microwave repeatedly. You must limit the use of plastic containers in a microwave. Overexposure leads to the plastic container being damaged and unwanted release of dangerous chemicals.
- Do not overheat container. Plastic container should not be microwaved for extended periods of time. 2 to 3 minutes should be the extent of the microwaving time, even that is risky when heating at power levels over medium heat. Plastic Tupperware has been BPA-free since 2010, however the manufacturer recommends the power level be set to medium and the microwaving time be reduced to 3 minutes or less. Ziploc containers are also BPA-free, and the manufacturer has vague microwaving instructions that only suggest use for reheating and defrosting.
- Stop and stir. Use shortened intervals and stir the food in-between each duration. Stirring promotes even heating throughout the dish, which will speed up cook time and prevent uneven cooking.
Microwaving BPA Free Plastic: Final Thoughts
All types of plastics are derived from natural, organic materials like salt, natural gas, cellulose, coal, and crude oil. The plastic production starts with the distillation of crude oil in an oil refinery, however the complex mixture of numerous compounds from crude oil must be processed before it can be fully utilized.
Nowadays, you can come across different types of plastic containers. The quality and reliability of these products vary based on the way they are being manufactured and the chemical compounds within the material.
Irrespective of the type of plastic, high temperatures cause chemicals to leach into your food. So, you need to make an informed decision to prevent chemicals from leaching into the food and protect your health.
Whenever you find plastic showing signs of wear or pitting, you need to realize that the impact of the hazard increases exponentially. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to stop using the damaged plastic container in the microwave.
In general, plastics melt when exposed to extreme heat in your microwave for a long period. Beware of the critical health risks associated with leach chemicals into food.
When it comes to choosing the best microwave safe containers, you can certainly opt for BPA free plastic. Type 5 polypropylene is resistance to high temperates and provides excellent sturdiness, this type of plastic offers the best protection for the users.