Giving Up Cancer for Lent: Plastics

There are certain things in a marriage that are best left alone… certain things the two parties just do not agree on. One of those things in our household is plastics in the microwave.

I know it is easier to just put the container in the microwave when reheating leftovers but when the discussion of BPA in baby bottles came out in the media I did some research into the health risks of certain plastics. I didn’t like what I found.

  • Plasticizers (also known as pthalates) are linked to breast cancer. The plasticizers are easily absorbed into the blood which increase estrogen levels, which in turn increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Plastic bowls or plastic wrap should not be used in the microwave unless specifically labelled microwave safe. The food may absorb the plasticizers.
  • If using plastic containers, food should be cooled completely before storing. Avoid any visibly damaged, stained or foul smelling containers.
  • Never heat or store food in plastic containers not intended for food (Dollar store alert here, many of those items are labelled as not intended for food).
  • One time use containers, like margarine tubs, tend to warp or melt in the microwave therefore allowing even more substances in the plastic to migrate into the food.
  • If washing plastics in the dishwasher put them on the top rack. It is farther away from the heating element, therefore reducing heat exposure.

I’m a bit of an environmentalist so all our food storage is done in reusable containers. I would happily get rid of all plastic wrap from the house – especially when I think back to all the time growing up that I would use it in the microwave and finding it practically melted into the food (it makes me shudder now).

I have found some really great storage options on the Etsy website: cloth bags for snacks for the kids and sandwich wraps. I would love to make some more for the house but I have been unable to find a source of PVC free liner material.

For now, I plan to go through all the plastic storage containers. I think some of them are best relegated to the recycling bin.

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