Can You Microwave Plastic? Here's why you shouldn't

Woman eating a plastic bag

Microwaving plastic is either a very bad idea or a kind of bad idea. 

It’s a very bad idea to microwave soft plastics like ziploc bags or saran wrap. They will melt all over your food if you microwave them. That will make your food taste nasty. It’s also bad for you. Plastic is made out of oil and other industrial chemicals, so eating it is toxic. You definitely don’t want to microwave soft plastics. 

It's kind of a bad idea to microwave harder plastics like tupperware. many of those are ‘microwave safe’. Microwave safe means the plastic won’t melt when you microwave it. What might surprise you is that a little bit of the plastic still gets into your food when you heat it up. The plastic releases something called ‘Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals’ when that happens. Those aren’t as bad for you as eating melted plastic, but they’re still not great. 

‘Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals’ mess with a person’s hormones, specifically the balance between testosterone and estrogen. They’re bad for anyone who wants to have kids, men, and young children. 

They’re not that bad for anyone who doesn’t want to have kids, especially adult women. So if you’re an adult who’s happy to be childless, you don’t really need to worry about it, you can microwave any plastic tupperware that’s microwave safe. You’re good.

What happens if you do have kids or you want to have kids someday? Here’s what you should know:

  • There’s a male infertility crisis in the western world. Sperm counts have fallen by more than half and infertility is rising. 
  • What’s causing it? Bad diet, little exercise, but also Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). There’s a ton of EDCs in modern products and most of them are artificial estrogens, which makes them particularly bad for men.
  • EDCs are also very bad for kids because they’re still developing. The younger the kid, the worse the damage. In fact, exposure to EDCs can lead to permanent damage, like infertility, lower testosterone, and even a smaller penis. 
  • According to Shanna Swan, a scientist who’s spent her life studying this, not microwaving plastic is one of the easiest and most powerful things you can do to reduce your exposure to EDCs.
  • What should you use instead? Glass or ceramic, such as glass food storage or ceramic plates and bowls. They’re both safe and they don’t release any weird chemicals when you microwave them. 

We’ve got articles about safely microwaving glass and ceramic if you’d like to learn more. We're also happy to share more information on EDCs if you're interested. 

Otherwise, happy heating everyone.

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