Safe Plastic in the Microwave: What You Need to Know Before You Reheat

Ensuring Safe Plastic in the Microwave: Understanding Safety Concerns with Plastic Containers

A discussion has been ongoing about what are safe plastic in microwave ovens, with some deemed unsuitable for use as food containers.

Many studies suggest against using any kind of plastic box whatsoever in the microwave oven because it could release chemicals that may transfer and mix with the food when exposed to heat.

Let’s have a look at plastic products and their adverse effects on the environment and human health. In addition, we will look at what are safe plastic in microwaves and for storing food.

Meaning of Plastic

The meaning of the word “plastic” is “pliable and easily shaped.” Polymers are synthesised in manufacturing plants from naturally occurring fossil fuels or plants. It is the length and pattern of the organic molecule chains that make polymers strong, light, and flexible; this ability is what makes them so plastic.

Plastic Health Concerns and Their Implications for Microwave Use

Since their discovery, plastics have become a fundamental component of our daily consumption. Particularly in the last fifty years, plastics have dominated our environment and altered our way of life.

However, in the late 1970s, many environmental protection organisations raised serious objections against the safety of plastics, mainly due to their environmental and health impacts.

Some health concerns were also raised about chemicals or additives that were used in the polymerization process to make plastics more flexible, long-lasting, and transparent.

These are widely known as chemicals that cause serious consequences for Human Health.

These are Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates.

It’s important to refrain from using plastics that have these chemicals that interfere with hormones. These chemicals can cause infertility, thyroid disease, early puberty, leukaemia, breast, uterine, and prostate cancers, neuro-behavioural issues, obesity, and metabolic dysfunction.

These Chemicals also have adverse effects on children and the potential consequences for future generations if they continue to accumulate.

In addition to this, plastic products are disposable and remain in the environment forever, as they are slow to degrade in nature.

What are Safe Plastic for Microwave Ovens?

The label “microwave safe” on plastic containers isn’t enough to ensure the least effect on human health.

The main point is that if you want to use plastic containers for heating food in the microwave, stick to microwave-safe containers (but don’t use plastic wrap to touch your food while heating) or, better yet, use alternatives like glass or ceramic containers that are safe for microwaving.

Plastic Types and Coding

For the selection of better plastic for use in daily life, the following table can help you understand the type and coding of plastics. We can still switch to other options or, at least, opt for safer classes of plastic.

A conscious approach to avoiding plastic containers for food is the best fight for human beings!

Choosing Microwave-Safe Plastic Containers

Should we discard our collection of plastic items? This is a big question, as we are surrounded by plastic items. One superior approach is to diminish the consumption of plastic and substitute it with more eco-friendly alternatives.

The FDA Regulates Plastics

The FDA establishes specific conclusions regarding plastic, including the permissible quantity of chemicals that one may consume over the course of their lifetime with minimal or no hazard.

Safe Plastic and Unsafe Plastic

Some plastic materials fall into a category called “Food Grade Plastic,” which are safer than others. BPA should be completely avoided, and you should look for the recycling symbol on the bottom.

It should be noted that products with recycling codes 1, 2, 4, and 5 can be used relatively safely, but it is not recommended to heat them or use them in the microwave, even if they are labelled as microwavable safe.

Image Credits: Image by starline on Freepik

It’s a Bad Idea to Heat Food in Plastic

Though microwaving food is generally safe, microwaving in plastic containers is associated with increased leaching — the transfer or leaking of chemicals into food so avoid using plastic containers for microwaving.

Recommendations for Microwaving Food and Beverages in Plastic Containers

Remember to Eat Safe, Heat Safe, and Store Safe.

To ensure the safety of your food, whether it is heated or not, it is recommended that you adhere to the following general guidelines:

  • Choose materials that are devoid of BPA and phthalates.
  • Don’t use old plastic items as they are worn out and release micro-plastic contents, which can be added to your stored food items.
  • It’s not a good idea to freeze food kept in plastic containers and then microwave it.
  • Avoid reusing the same plastic water bottles or takeout containers. Mostly, we are reusing PET bottles after washing them for other purposes, as the plastics in these bottles release microplastics when they are reused, and these particles can be added to the stored food or liquid.
  • Refrain from keeping water bottles near heat sources or in direct sunlight; it increases the degradation process of plastic bottles, and particles like micro-plastic contents can be a part of food items.
  • Try not to store hot liquids or foods in plastic.
  • It is advised to be cautious when reading the recycling markings on plastic containers and to avoid utilising plastics that display the numbers 3, 6, or 7, as they are not deemed safe.

Alternatives to plastic containers for microwaving:

  • Microwave-safe porcelain or glass should be used to heat food in the microwave.
  • Use paper towels rather than plastic to cover food because Phthalates can be present in the condensation from plastic covers.
  • It is recommended to avoid storing food in single-use plastic containers. Instead, consider utilising glass, stainless steel, ceramic, or wood containers.


Please do not get stressed out if you’ve been heating and keeping food in plastic for a long time. In actuality, these substances are always present in our environment.

They are everywhere, from nail polish to vinyl flooring!

Due to their widespread use, it is inevitable that we will come into contact with these substances, but it is never too late to make informed decisions, lower exposure, and resort to using safe plastic.

To learn more, please check out our Blog Page, where you will find an array of articles on industry insights and our services.

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2 responses to “Safe Plastic in the Microwave: What You Need to Know Before You Reheat”
  1. gold ira avatar

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    1. Hi, Thank you for your kind words. I’m delighted that you enjoyed the blog post!

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      Dr. Akhtar Siddiqui

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