Are you aware of the things you do, day in day out, which could be damaging your health?

This week we look at the first of 3 common lunchtime risk factors…

Ping! As you open the microwave to pull out your piping hot lunch, you congratulate yourself on the healthy choice you’ve made. Or have you really?

This week’s BIG ‘NO-NO’: Microwaving food in plastic containers

 

A quick online search reveals ‘heated’ controversy around the dangers of plastic chemicals in food – according to some, the idea that plastic in our bodies constitutes a health risk is nothing else but a hoax. And the research is still sparse (which, let’s face it, is hardly surprising, considering it’s unlikely to support the commercial interests needed to secure funding.)

In spite of this, more and more evidence is emerging, and recently, the FDA announced a reversal of its 2008 claims regarding the safety of Bisphenol-A (one of the most common components of plastic), expressing new concern about “potential effects of BPA on the brain, behaviour and prostate gland of foetuses, infants and children.” 1

And it’s not just BPA, there are other chemical compounds in plastic which are very likely to leach out of plastic into food, especially when heated.

Health risks…

The US based National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences advises against microwaving polycarbonate plastics or putting them in the dishwasher, because the plastic may break down over time and allow BPA to leach into foods.2

The health risks experts are talking about are linked to hormone disruptions, brain and behaviour problems, cancer, heart problems and obesity.

While we await more scientific research into the matter, one thing is certain: most of us already have BPA in our bodies, according to research carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.3

Playing safe

Surely the fact there has been little research into the matter doesn’t prove there is no danger? Are you prepared to take the risk? I know I’m certainly not, and if you have no other choice than to heat food in a microwave, do make sure you keep a glass bowl or a plate in the kitchen at work to transfer the food into.

Stay tuned for the 2 remaining biggest lunchtime ‘no-no’s at work – in next week’s blog!

References:

1http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100319115631.htm

http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/119-a306b/

3http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/BisphenolA_FactSheet.html

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