HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Keep your plastic cool -- that's advice from researchers, after the latest studies show warming up food in plastic containers can release chemicals called phthalates. Doctors warn this increases the risks of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.
Dr. Noreen Khan-Mayberry from NKM Environmental Health Sciences, known as The Tox Doc, shares the following advice in an interview with FOX 26 News:
Look at each different manufacturer's label to find out if it's top rack dishwasher safe. If it is, that's great, but still look at it (after you wash it). Hot to the touch is okay, but if it's melting or degrading every time you use it, stop using it, because labels can and will lie, so be aware of it! If it's not melting, it's just warm to the touch and it says it's top rack safe, that's fine! Definitely avoid the microwave because it is what causes the most scarring or worn look to your plastic. Also, styrofoam (styrene) can't handle the microwave and melts directly into your food. At the barbecues, you put hot barbecue on a plate, you see that hole and you're eating that styrene in your food. I cringe when I see styrofoam at parties, it's great for transporting but not heating. Now styrofoam cups can handle it, but containers and plates are terrible. Paper plates with coating I do not think are safe, because we don't know what is in that coating. Some do contain BPA and other chemicals that are supposed to cause your foods not to stick together or to the plate When you use a paper plate, avoid coating and designs and colors -- we don't need that.
For more information on this topic, visit http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/safe-heat-food-in-plastic?page=8.