Can You Microwave Plastic Tupperware? (And Is It Safe?)

plastic-tupperware
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With tons of warnings about how we should not use plastics in the microwave and many brands claiming their products are safe to be used in the microwave, people are really confused. So what is the truth?

The simplest way to determine whether or not the plastic container is microwave safe is to look for a label that says ‘Microwave Safe.’ This is a stamp of approval by the FDA. But when we are talking about plastic and microwaves, is the stamp enough for our safety? Read on to find an answer to this question and many other questions that have been crowding up in your mind.

What is Plastic?

Plastic is referred to as synthetic or semi-synthetic materials that are lightweight, flexible, and durable. Such properties enable the material to be manufactured into a plethora of different products. You can see plastic in food storage containers, household goods, automotive parts, medical devices, beverage containers, etc. Plastic comes in different forms that include –

  • Polyethylene terephthalate – These are commonly used to store peanut butter, soda drink bottles, cooking oil containers, mayonnaise jars.
  • Polyvinyl chloride – these are used in electrical wiring, plumbing pipes, medical tubing, shower curtains, etc.
  • Low-density polyethylene – These types of plastics are used in squeeze bottles, plastic bags, food packaging, etc.
  • High-density polyethylene – These are used for butter containers, milk jugs, protein powder tubs, hand soap, and detergent containers.
  • Polystyrene or Styrofoam – These are used in packing disposable food containers, disposable cups, plates, etc.
  • Polypropylene – These plastics are used in yogurt containers, bottle caps, single-serve coffee capsules, food storage containers, shaker bottles, baby bottles, etc.

Can You Microwave Plastic Tupperware?

For more than 60 years, the brand Tupperware has been manufacturing high-quality premium products that are durable, convenient, innovative, environment-friendly, and safe.

All the products by the company are designed to be non-carcinogenic, non-toxic, and do not release harmful chemicals, liquid or food contents. Moreover, these products have gone through stringent tests to make sure that the food-grade safe, thereby providing you with peace of mind.

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But one thing that always confuses people is whether or not plastic Tupperware is safe to be used in the microwave. While a great brand, you must have some confusion regarding its microwaving abilities right? We are sharing all the information you need to know about plastic Tupperware and its ability to microwave.

According to the brand, all Tupperware products adhere to the safety standards laid out by the Federal government. The plastic used in Tupperware is meant for use in the microwave and comply with regulations imposed by the international bodies that include the Toxic Substances Control Act Inventory (TSCA), Japanese Inventory (ENCS), and European Inventory of Existing Chemical Substances (EINECS).

How Long Can You Microwave Plastic Tupperware?

Identifying the potential for chemicals in the plastic, the Food and Environment Hygiene Department monitors the production of plastic containers by each brand. Brands have to go through stringent rules before they are issued with a microwave-safe approval stamp. The regulatory department evaluates the ratio between plastic surface area and food, how frequently people are likely to eat from the container and how long the container is likely to be microwaved.

Based on these factors, scientists measure the chemical that comes out and the degree to which they reach foods. Manufacturers have to do a toxicological evaluation to verify that the container is safe to use.

So for a plastic container to be termed as safe, it has to pass a test that authenticates that it will not cause cancer or any harmful health implications. And these are the only containers that can display works like microwave-safe, microwaveable, etc. to their label. And microwave-safe containers are typically tested for about 240 hours in the microwave.

Are All Tupperware Products Microwave Safe?

If you are using genuine and premium-quality Tupperware brands, then you can peacefully put it in the microwave. This is because all Tupperware products are designed to be used in the microwave.

However, when buying these containers, make sure you look for safety approval by the federal government. While all the containers are designed to be used in the microwave, not all come with the label ‘microwave-safe’ or ‘microwaveable.’ Therefore, it is better not to use the container that does not contain any of these labels.

Can You Microwave Ziploc Tupperware Containers?

It has become a common practice for individuals to just pop the Ziploc containers into the microwave and heat up their meals. But have you wondered whether or not your convenient ziplock bag is safe to use?

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It has been a long since people have been debating whether or not these containers are safe to use in microwaves. Brands, including Ziploc, Tupperware, etc., have a strong reputation for being microwave safe.

Ziploc containers are made using polypropylene, which is also reckoned as recycling #5. This is the most common type of microwave plastic wish safe for the microwave as it features a high melting point, which makes it ideal for hot-fill liquids. Moreover, Ziploc containers are also dioxin-free, BPA-free, and created to be recyclable, but they are not designed from recycled materials.

These containers encompass polypropylene that has a melting point of around 320°F or 160°C. Subsequently, it is capable of bearing the temperature of food. However, it should not be used in a conventional oven, with a stovetop or under browning elements.

Is it Safe to Microwave BPA Free Plastic?

As per the FDA, you must always ensure that your plastic container is labeled as safe for microwave use. However, these recommendations are misleading even if you are using an advanced nuking dish. As new products emerge in the market with BPA-free labels, what it is replaced with is considered to be more harmful.

BPS or bisphenol S is one of the components that BPA has been replaced with. According to the research of Harvard, this element may adversely impact the developing fetal brains, similar to how BPA does. And, fetuses are not the only ones at risk. The alternatives of BPA can affect grown-up adults as well.        

What Plastic is Safe to Microwave?

The primary issue with microwaving plastic is that it can result in additives, so of which are very harmful and can leach into the foods and beverages. The essential concerning chemicals include bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. These are added to increase the durability and flexibility of the plastic. BPA is an element that impacts the hormones of the body and is linked with diabetes, obesity, and harm to reproductive organs.       

When food and beverages are contained in a plastic container for a long time, the BPA from them leaches into the food. And, when you heat the plastic container, this process to ameliorate.

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But today, some brands like Tupperware, Ziploc, etc. are coming with BPA-free plastic containers. These containers are labeled to be safe. However, some studies have shown that plastics that do not contain BPA release other chemicals like phthalates that can disrupt hormonal balance. So when you are using a plastic container to microwave, make sure they are labeled specifically safe to use in microwaves.            

How to Reduce Phthalates and BPA Exposure From Plastic?     

When you place plastic containers in the microwave, it releases BPA and phthalates. But it is not the only way your food and drinks get exposed to these harmful chemicals. When you place hot food in a plastic container, use the container for a long time or scrub the container harshly to create scratching, you are risking the release of these harmful chemicals.  

You should try to replace your plastic containers with glass ones. But if you are adept at using plastic containers due to their cost-efficiency, switch to the ones that are BPA-free. You can determine whether or not the container is made from PP by checking the PP stamp at the button. A recycling sign featuring 5 in the middle is also a good sign. Instead of using clingy plastic wraps that contain BPA and phthalates, you should use wax paper, paper towel, or parchment paper to cover your food.        

Additionally, also make sure that you do not use your plastic container to store food that contains high acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar. This is because the release of the chemical increases when plastic comes in contact with acidic food. So strictly avoid keeping such food items in your plastic containers.

Final Thoughts

Plastics materials that are essentially made from petroleum or oil. Undoubtedly plastics have a wide operation that touches every industry. However, using plastic containers to store or serve food is a smart decision. And microwave plastic containers can release harmful chemicals more rapidly.

So until the product has the stamp that verifies it is microwave safe, you should not use it. And make sure you do not use your plastic containers for a long time. Additionally, you should also make sure to not keep hot food in a plastic container for long. Taking care of these little things will help you reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals.                                                                                                                                                     

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/is-plastic-a-threat-to-your-health

https://ziploc.com/en/Sustainability-and-Safety

https://www.thrillist.com/health/nation/is-bpa-free-plastic-really-microwave-safe

https://health.westchestergov.com/bisphenol-a-and-phthalates

About Sylvette Brown

Sylvette is a homemaker and is passionate about cooking and other kitchen-related stuff. She also loves to do home improvement related tasks and keeps on writing about food and cookware on her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her 2 little kids. :)