• Plastic storage containers such as margarine tubs, take-out containers, whipped topping bowls, and other one-time use containers should not be used in microwave ovens. These containers can warp or melt, possibly causing harmful chemicals to migrate into the food.
• Microwave plastic wraps, wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper, and white microwave-safe paper towels should be safe to use. Do not let plastic wrap touch foods during microwaving.
• Never use thin plastic storage bags, brown paper or plastic grocery bags, newspapers, or aluminum foil in the microwave oven.
Exposing plastic bottles to boiling water can release a potentially harmful chemical 55 times faster than normal.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in the plastics that make up water bottles, baby bottles, and other food and drink packaging. It acts as an environmental estrogen and can disrupt the function of the endocrine system.
Exposure to BPA presents some risk to development and reproduction, although it’s unclear at what level that harm begins to occur.
“There isn’t a real answer,” said study senior author Scott Belcher, an associate professor of pharmacology at the University of Cincinnati. “There seems to be a current difference of opinion between the scientific research field and the folks doing risk assessment. If you were to sum it up in an easy, relatively conservative way, the scientific data points to some reason for caution at low concentrations. There really isn’t much information regarding the effects on human populations directly.”
Belcher’s findings appear in the Jan. 30 issue of the journal Toxicology Letters.
Animal experiments have suggested that BPA may mimic the female sex hormone estradiol. The fear has been that exposure to BPA can cause birth defects and developmental problems. In addition, exposure to BPA has been blamed for a variety of other problems, including cancer, diabetes, obesity and attention-deficit disorder.
Exposure to BPA can occur through direct contact or by exposure to food or drink that has been in contact with material containing BPA.
Previous studies had found that repeatedly scrubbing, washing and boiling polycarbonate baby bottles could cause them to release BPA.
Belcher was asked if he used plastics and he said that he avoided them as a personal choice.