The Dangers of the Microwave


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It's a monday night, you're tired, and you don't want to cook any food. You peruse the fridge and find a tupperware present. You peel off the lid and decide that it's better than nothing. You throw it in the microwave and hope it won't taste too rubbery. This is a normal occurrence of mine, tupperware and the microwave meals, but is this "healthy" or "good" for you? I've heard some rumors in the past of plastic leaking into food so I decided to investigate. 
According to Harvard Health (prestigious I know) microwaving your plastic is bad for you. Apparently, the heat from the microwave transfers chemicals from the plastic into your food (yum?) and then you ingest these chemicals. They are called plasticizers. Meaty, fatty, and cheesy foods release diethylhexyl adipate which leaks out of plastic. This sounds a lot more serious than I thought it would be. 
There are more dangerous chemicals according to Popular Science. Plastic #7 releases Bisphenol which can harm your reproductive system. However, this is after repeated use. Plastic soda bottles, which use plastic #1, also have harmful chemicals in them. It's recommended that they are only used once. If used more than once they can release phthalates that again are hormone disrupting when used numerous times. 
In general there are dangerous chemicals leaching out into our food when microwaved in plastic containers. I've also learned that there are many different kinds of plastic that have different harmful chemicals in them. If you are thinking hey, what about styrofoam? Styrofoam also has chemicals that can harm you. Styrofoam is made out of polystyrene which can cause many problems such as eye, respiratory, and skin irritation. On the extreme side, it can also kidney failure. So, when you get a to go box from a restaurant you should immediately switch it into something different. Obviously these symptoms aren't instantaneous, but it's a good idea to switch them out as soon as possible. Do not microwave styrofoam! 
This might seem a little scary,  I know I'm freaking out a little. These chemicals take multiple uses to get into our food, so I wouldn't throw out every tupperware container I own if I were you. Some alternatives are using glassware to store things. Glass is probably more expensive, and if you drop then you have a whole other problem on you hands. However it is safer when heating. Another option is to take your food out of the tupperware container and microwave it on a glass plate or bowl. I think this is a safer and easier way to stay protected from the dangers of the microwave. So don't be afraid to eat the tupperware present, just unwrap it. 
Leftovers.jpg

2 Comments

Interesting article, when I think of dangers of microwaving I rarely consider the consequences of heating up plastics. I decided to look a little more into microwave dangers and it turns out that microwaves actually damage food. For example, a microwave causes friction in the molecules of the food, which is how it heats up, however, this friction damages surrounding molecules. Also, the radiation of the microwaves causes decay through ionization, which is when electrons from an atom are either gained or lost. It would seem that even if we are unharmed by microwave use, the food is.
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/health-hazards-to-know-about/microwave-ovens-the-proven-dangers

I knew microwaving could not be healthy for you but this is way more scarier than I thought. I mean a microwave is a must for college students. I guess we just have to be a little more cautious about using a microwave.

but here are some surprising facts and myths about the beloved microwave!

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/microwave-radiation-ovens-460709

it states "In fact, the term "microwave safe" is not regulated by the government, so it has no verifiable meaning." so be careful, guys!

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