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Thread: why is it harmful ??

  1. #1 why is it harmful ?? 
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    i get this a lot from my mom.... whenever i decide to microwave my food in a plastic bowle she stops me.... i am curriouse to knoe the BAD things happen ?? and is there and chemcials plastic release while its heating up??


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  3. #2  
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    The discourse about plastic is a fairly hot topic in current events. Plastic is considered a dangerous way of containing foods. They believe the continous stress of heating, cooling, washing, resusing ,ect. is breaking down the plastic. I don't know into what or any chemical formulas for this such thing though...


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  4. #3  
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    The lead suspect chemical is probably Bisphenol A or BPA. It's been used for many years, but recent studies have shown it to be harmful in numerous lab test on other animals because it can mimic and thus disrupt hormones. Wiki has a pretty decent write up about it. We use glass containers in our house for microwaving foods due to the concerns.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    It depends on the plastic. Many plastics are quite suitable for microwave cooking. Either buy a plastic dish approved for microwave cooking, or else do a little google research and find which plastics are OK, and use only them.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    It depends on the plastic. Many plastics are quite suitable for microwave cooking. Either buy a plastic dish approved for microwave cooking, or else do a little google research and find which plastics are OK, and use only them.
    I though microwave safe simply melt it would not melt and had nothing to do with the posibility of BPA in the plastic. I'm not sure there is even any standard for BPA, either to identify or limit it's use. Unfortunately there are thousands of chemicals that aren't tested until there's something suspected rather than a more pragmatic approach which would at least review plastics (and other products) for groups of suspend chemicals that should be evaluated before it's released to the consumer.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    The energy required to release dangerous chemicals from plastic storage containers in a microwave would be enough to char the container. In other words, you could release dangerous chemicals like dioxins and bisphenol (BPA), but you would need to leave it in the microwave long enough to ignite the plastic. This is far, far longer than most foods require for re-heating.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Microwave safe plastic dishes do not release bisphenol A or any other nasty toxins.

    Microwave ovens operate on a wavelength specifically designed to excite water molecules. Other substances are not affected to the same degree.

    What this means is that, if there is water in the microwave, the energy will be preferentially consumed in heating the water. If there is no water, then the energy will act on whatever is in the oven. If it is plastic, then that plastic may be melted.

    So, if you cook in a microwave, place the food into a microwave safe dish, and feel free to turn on the stove. If you overcook, and get rid of the water, then it will melt the plastic, but not before.

    The rules are pretty damn simple. If you follow them, the use of plastics in the microwave are perfectly safe.
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    There is enough concern related to heating polycarbonates, which the industry often calls "microwave safe, and often also have BPA, that the FDA is recommending people stop using polycarbonate nursing bottles while the issue continues to be studied.

    There doesn't seem to be any standard in what is called "microwave safe."

    http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Public.../ucm197739.htm
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  10. #9  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    I think its more "precautionary principle" than science. People get BPA in their body (i.e. blood) from many sources, ranging from the thermal inks on ticket stubs and receipts to accidentally ingesting bits of plastic shavings.
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  11. #10  
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    To add to Skinwalkers good points.

    It is always worth remember the first rule of toxicology. The dose makes the poison. This means that, for every chemical substance (including water) there is a high dose that kills and a low dose that is harmless.

    For bisphenol A, there is a low dose that is harmless, just as for every other material on this planet. The fact that a plastic contains and releases BPA does not necessarily make it a hazard. If the dose is low enough, there is no problem.

    I read the FDA reference, and there is no clear statement there that polycarbonate is considered a risk - just a vague statement to the effect that further research will be done.

    The chemical paranoia industry dumps upon us all enough bulldust that I treat it all with a very big pinch of salt. Humanity deals on a daily basis with around 100,000 synthetic chemicals. The 'harm' these do us is illustrated by the fact that we now live longer and remain healthier longer than any other time in history.
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