Is Heating the Food in Plastics in the Microwave Harmful?

Microwaves are quite helpful when it comes to our daily life routines. However, in the midst of all this, is it actually safe for us to use microwaves? Is heating the food in plastics in the microwave healthy and beneficial or is it harmful and dangerous for health? Are we risking our health by heating up in the microwaves?

In our day to day busy lives, heating up the things on-a-go has become a part of our lives too. Thus, in order to keep up with our routine meals, microwaves come as a handy. Since we can heat up our food without having to lit a stove.

From our kitchen to refrigerators, we store most of the stuff in pots made of plastics most of the time. Since we keep and store in such pots or plates of plastics, it is advisable to know which sort of plastic do we use in our kitchens. This is to ensure that we are not risking our health.

Although, not all sort of plastic pots is injurious to health. Nevertheless, how sure are we that the pots that we use are the ones having non-fatal chemicals? The question arises here that what kind of plastics do we have in the market?

Kind of Plastics

According to the Canadian Cancer Society. the plastics that normally people get from outside are of three types:

1) The first kind of plastic that we get in the market is for the purpose of Household Products.

2) The second kind of plastic that we get from outside is usually the supplies that we use in gardening.

3) The third and the last kind of plastic is the one which we get for storing food.

Now, all these three kinds of plastic have different preparation methods. However, according to CCS (the Canadian Cancer Society), plastics in which we store food has a different preparation method. In such kind of plastic, the chemicals are different.

Is it Harmful to Heat Food in Plastics in Microwave Ovens?

Well, whether it is harmful or not, here’s what one of Harvard’s study has to say,

The food plastic releases a chemical, dioxins, which is a cancer-causing agent. The release of this chemical is what researchers say can be detrimental. However, the other point that is interesting to note is that the plastic doesn’t release such a chemical when we heat the food in the microwave. So, it’s not the kind of harmful inside the microwave.

According to the same Harvard’s research, such a chemical releases when it burns with garbage, wood or plastics. So, if you are not burning your food inside the microwave, dioxins will not produce. And as long as dioxins are not present, your health is safe and you don’t have to worry about your health.

Read: Can Women Get Prostate Cancer?

Warning: Don’t Allow Your Food to be Melted While Heating Food in a Plastic in the Microwave

Although it is stated earlier that heating in plastic pots is not that injurious as long as you are careful. However, take note of this as well that if you start heating food to the point of that getting melted then you are risking your life. The melting of food can allow the plastic chemicals to be mixed with the food which in return can make your food harmful instead of healthy.

For example, fatty foods are more likely to melt in microwave ovens i.e. Cheese or meat etc.

Also Read: How Breast Cancer Victims Can Opt for a Non-Chemo Treatment

Some Prevalent Myths About the Usage of Microwave

Not only that microwave has many advantages, there are some rumors and myths prevalent about microwave as well.  One of the advantages of microwave over any other conventional oven is that the time period of heating up food in a microwave is shorter. On the contrary, in conventional ovens, it takes some time.

However, before we delve into the myths prevalent about the microwave. Learn about the microwave’s mechanism itself first.

Microwaves are a sort of radiofrequency electromagnetic energy. Such kind of energy helps in heating up the food once put inside.  This energy when penetrates in the food, it stirs the water molecules in the food which results in the rotation. The rotation of the water molecules results in the friction because of collision of the molecules. This friction between molecules further allows the temperature to rise which helps in heating the food.

Myth-1: One of the myths about microwave is that probably it releases some radioactive rays. This is wrong. Because microwave does not produce any such harmful waves. Some even confuse the microwaves with the X-rays.

Myth-2: Another myth was circulated in the name of Johns Hopkins Hospital. The rumors were spread that Johns Hopkins declared the plastics containing dioxins. However, later it was discovered that all these were only rumors. Since the officials from the Johns Hopkins disregarded this news. And said that the news had no truth in it.

Maintaining Your Microwave

One of the Canadian health organization says that as long as you keep your oven maintained then your health will not be affected. The microwave energy leakage can happen. Nevertheless, there’s a limitation to that leakage until which the microwave won’t affect the health. Thus, due to this fact, if the microwave energy leakage has that limitation when they are sold then it won’t be harmful. Hence, maintaining your microwave can keep the energy leakage within the limits, set by the health professionals.

According to the same Canadian health organization, it is important to check while buying a microwave about the leakage in order to avoid future inconvenience. The same limitations should be kept in mind while reselling your microwave.

Also Read: Lycopene Can Help in Preventing Cancer And Cardiovascular Diseases

How Can You Minimize the Risks of Health Hazards?

You can keep the risks or the health hazards at bay by following some of the precautions. These precautions are by the health organizations dedicated to keeping health hazards at arm’s length.

1) When you buy any microwave, follow the instructions given by its manufacturer.

2) If you ever need a repair then don’t just hire anyone. Hire someone qualified technician.

3) The best way is to not use your microwave oven if its door does not close, or doesn’t work properly. Better repair it first. And follow the instruction no.2 when repairing.

4) Keep an eye on your oven’s door, door hinges or microwave’s latches or the screen. If there’s any prominent or significant damage then contact the concerned person i.e. manufacturer, distributor or some technician.

5) The more you keep your oven clean, the more it will prove beneficial to you and less harmful. Thus, try keeping your oven as much clean as possible. Especially the doors etc.

What Should You Do Then?

To remain on the safe side,  it is best advised to follow the following points:

1) Use pots which are of ceramics or glass inside the microwave.

2) Don’t use the containers or jars which are used for storing margarine or mayonnaise etc.

3) Avoid using plastic containers which are worn out now.


It is proven that plastics don’t contain any harmful chemicals until the contents start leeching with the plastic itself during the heating process. Then it can be harmful but if you maintain your microwave and keep a vigilant eye when heating then this can be avoided and you can use your microwave safely.

Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker