Food microwaved in plastic containers can put you or your unborn child at a greater risk of infertility, diabetes, obesity and cancer. Scientists have found that heating food in plastic containers in a microwave oven can cause high blood pressure, affect fertility, and damage the brain functioning.
On that note, heating plastic containers in the microwave releases 95 percent of all chemicals.
“The most hazardous chemicals in plastic containers are bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, and phthalate. The BPA we ingest gets into our bloodstream and may lead to a series of problems like infertility, hormonal changes, changes in gender traits and even different types of cancers. They also have side effects on animals causing testicular cancer, genital deformations, low sperm counts, and infertility in a number of species, including polar bears, deer, whales, and others,” said Dr Nitasha Gupta, IVF expert, Indira IVF Hospital, New Delhi.
The level of exposure to BPA is so high that regular monitoring by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that more than 90 percent of the general population has detectable level of bisphenol A in their bodies.
Plastic has other carcinogens as well including PVC, dioxin, and styrene, all of which are linked to cancer.
“The disturbing truth is that heat transfers the chemicals in plastic very effectively into your food. When the food is heated, the food touching the plastic receives the chemicals leaching out. Eating those chemicals can increase risks of cancer, infertility and havoc on the normal functioning of reproductive systems and your brain,” she added.
Dr Swati, a Hyderabad based gynecologist, suggests we should try and minimise the use of plastic as much as possible and pack food in glass containers.
“Glass never transfer chemicals the same way as plastic, and is much safer for heating your meals in. An increase in plastic use in everyday lifestyles could be a contributing factor, causing an increase of infertility worldwide. A report from FDA states that chemicals, mostly BPA, adversely effects both male and female fertility,” she said.
According to a study released by American society of reproductive health, BPA inhibits embryo implantation as well, and hence it is linked to higher level of In vitro-fertilization failure. It may also lead to recurrent miscarriages.