Do you microwave your plastic boxes?

If you more often than not order in from your favourite restaurant and heat the food in the same takeaway containers in the microwave, you need to stop immediately, writes Priyanka Kheruka

health

If you more often than not order in from your favourite restaurant and heat the food in the same takeaway containers in the microwave, you need to stop immediately. Over 90% takeaway packaging is not microwave safe and can leach out chemicals on heating which mix into the food and get ingested.

From what started as an easy and convenient materiel for kitchen use, plastic, sadly has emerged as a major health hazard which must be replaced for specific purposes — especially for microwave heating of food items.

Plastic is not one single substance but is made of various components. Plastic bottles and containers that we use daily are made using polycarbonate plastics, some of which have bioactive chemicals, like Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates. BPA is an industrial chemical, which hardens plastic and Phthalates makes plastic soft and malleable. When food is heated in plastic, it releases phthalates from the plasticisers and as much as 95% of the chemicals are migrated into your food. Fatty foods like meats and cheese are more prone to leaching and when these are microwaved in a plastic container, the phthalates released can directly affect your lungs, kidneys and liver. BPA on the other hand is linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. BPA, when ingested through heating food in plastic, directly enters our bloodstream and can lead to infertility, impact metabolism, our endocrine system, the brain and even lead to many kinds of cancer. BPA also upsets the estrogen and testosterone levels in humans.

The best alternative to health concerns over microwaving food products in plastics is to always transfer these to glass or ceramic containers for heating. One should also not put very hot products out of the microwave into plastic containers as well.

(The author is head, brand, Borosil)

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