What happens to plastic when I put it in the microwave?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 21,437
    Michael Schade, PVC Campaign Coordinator with the Center for Health, Environment and Justice explains what happens to plastic when it is placed in the microwave.

    Host: What happens to plastic when I put it in the microwave?

    Michael Schade: Well, many plastics contain different types of additives. These additives make it strong, they make it soft, they enable it to stand, make sure that it doesn't degrade from sunlight, different types of things to make it work. When plastic is heated and when it is put in the microwave, the chemicals that are used as additives can actually leach out. So we actually do not recommend that parents put any plastics in the microwave. Instead, use safer products such as glass or ceramic containers that are typically free of these harmful additives that can leach out. So when you heat or microwave a plastic, there is different types of additives that can potentially can leach out, that might be harmful to our health. So we think that it's important for parents to side on the area of caution and be better safe than sorry and not microwave plastics and instead, use glass or ceramic containers when microwaving. We conducted a study of baby bottles and we heated baby bottles. We found that when we heated the plastic baby bottles, higher levels of Bisphenol A came out over time and what that shows you is that as you heat certain types of plastics, these chemicals can leach out at increasing levels.