New Delhi: Food microwaved in plastic containers can put you or your unborn child at a greater risk of infertility, diabetes, obesity and cancer. Scientists have found out that heating food in plastic containers in a microwave oven can cause high blood pressure, affect fertility, and damage the brain functioning; and other horrifying side effects. Heating plastic containers in microwave releases 95 percent of all chemicals.
What happens when we heat plastic in microwave?
“The most hazardous chemicals in plastic containers are bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, and phthalate. The BPA we ingests gets into our bloodstream and may lead to a series of problems like infertility, hormonal changes, changes in gender traits and even different types of cancers.. It can also damage brain structure, increase in hyperactivity, aggression and obesity. They also have side effects on animals causing testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts, and infertility in a number of species, including polar bears, deer, whales, and others.” Says Dr Nitasha Gupta, IVF expert, Indira IVF Hospital, New Delhi
The level of exposure to BPA is so high that regular monitoring by CDC shows that more than 90 percent of the general population has detectable level of bisphenol A in their bodies.
Plastic has other carcinogens as well including PVC, dioxin, and styrene, all of which are linked to cancer.
“The disturbing truth is that heat transfers the chemicals in plastic very effectively into your food. When the food is heated, the food touching the plastic receives the chemicals leaching out. Eating those chemicals can increase risks of cancer, infertility and havoc on the normal functioning of reproductive systems and your brain.” She added
If we heat fatty foods, the combination of plastic and food, releases hazardous and poisonous toxins which are listed as one of the main reasons of high blood pressure leading to heart disease, stroke, heart attacks and even death.
What is “ Microwave- Safe” plastics?
“No plastics are Microwave Safe. Its only some alternate safer chemicals which are used to minimize the dangerous effects found in traditional plastics. Disononyl phthalate (DINP) and Diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) have been used to replace other toxic phthalates in the hopes of reducing reproductive damage in the body. Even DINP and DIDP are linked to high blood pressure. It is always better to make food on stove top or in your oven.” Said Dr Swati, Hyderabad based gynecologist.
Is Microwave Safe to use?
When you are using microwave, always maintain distance. Research shows that they leak harmful radiation when in use. Most evidence show that cooking or heating food in a microwave is not harmful. The use of wrong containers is harming your health. Stop using plastic in any of your habits.
Try to pack foods in glass containers. Glass never transfer chemicals the same way as plastic, and is much safer for heating your meals in.
Plastics and Infertility
An increase in plastic use in everyday lifestyles could be a contributing factor, causing an increase of infertility worldwide. A report from FDA states that chemicals mostly BPA adversely effects both male and female fertility.
“All the plastic contains toxic chemicals that have negative effect on body’s immune system and even hormone regulation. They mostly alter the body estrogen levels and hence affects reproductive potential.” Added Dr Swati
According to a study released by American society of reproductive health, BPA inhibits embryo implantation as well, and hence it is linked to higher level of In vitro-fertilization failure. It may also lead to recurrent miscarriages.
BPA can also cause birth defects and developmental problems in children. Also its exposure has also been linked to a variety of cancers, attention deficit disorder in both children and adults and even diabetes.
Reducing Your risk to exposure:
Rewrap your food, meat vegetables in safer coverings as soon as you purchase and remove the plastic coverings.
Never store left overs in plastic bags or containers.
Never reheat foods in microwave in plastic containers.
Buy a non-BPA bottle to drink water.
Well it is difficult to isolate yourself from the exposure to plastics where plastics are used in everything. But you can limit your food and beverage exposure to these toxic chemicals and make your BPA levels low.
Pregnant women have been warned to avoid food and drinks heated up in plastic containers as certain chemicals can increase the risk of miscarriage by 80 per cent
Pregnant women are advised to avoid cooking or warming foods in plastic containers, as chemicals leaks in high temperature. Also not to drink from plastic bottles which get warm in the sun.
Our modern society encourages a lot of conveniences that unfortunately aren’t very good for us. While it’s understandable we don’t want to interrupt our workflow or schedule, it’s worth taking time out to make sure that we are not poisoning ourselves or our body.