Should you heat up plastic in the microwave?

is it safe to heat up plastic in the microwave meal container
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock
Tasty, tasty Thai takeout often comes in plastic containers, but should you pop the tray in the microwave the next day to reheat your leftovers, or should you transfer it to a glass bowl instead?

A study from NYU Langone Medical Center recently published in the medical journal Hypertension says there’s a correlation between two chemical substitutes and an increased risk for high blood pressure and diabetes in children. The two substitute compounds, known as phthalates, are used in place of known carcinogen DEHP, and are designed to strengthen plastic wrap and processed food containers, as well as some soaps and cosmetics. “Heating enhances contamination,” Dr. Leonardo Transande, who authored the study, told The New York Daily News.

“The FDA does regulate the plastics that come in contact with food, and the most important take-home message is to read the label on the package or the container,” Dr. Natalie Azar, NBC News medical director, told Today. Plastics that are labeled “microwave safe” are fine to heat up, she says, but if the containers have the recycling numbers 3, 6, and 7, then they contain those chemicals mentioned in the study.

This also means that you don’t want to put those containers in the dishwasher, which also heats up plastic, and you should throw away scratched plastic containers, as they can leech chemicals.

If all this sounds familiar, it’s because something similar happened with another chemical found in plastic, BPA. Some research suggests chemicals used to replace it may cause the same kind of hormone disruption as BPA was found to cause.

And while Azar says the NYU study “was absolutely not a cause-and-effect finding,” meaning the study showed a correlation but not necessarily causation, Dr. Transande says there needs to be a better way to regulate chemicals. “What we need here is a reform that tests chemicals proactively before they’re used on the open market,” he tells Time.


Sony apparently tested dozens of other games for the PlayStation Classic

Data miners found references to dozens of titles in the PlayStation Classic source code. The retro console would have been a much more interesting device if Sony decided to include some of the mentioned games.
Smart Home

These accessories take your already awesome Instant Pot to a whole new level

If you're familiar with the Instant Pot, you know that this bad boy acts as a pressure cooker, rice cooker, cake maker, egg boiler, and a lot more. Here are some must-have accessories to make Instant Pot cooking even better.

The best last-minute Christmas gift ideas for holiday slackers

The countdown to Christmas has really ramped up, but there are plenty of fantastic gifts still available. We've found all of the last-minute gifts you need to have yourself a successful holiday on any budget.
Social Media

What do yodeling and Kylie Jenner have in common? YouTube’s top 2018 videos

In a true nod to the variety found on YouTube, the platform's top 10 list of videos from 2018 range from celebrities to sports, from perfectly tossing a picture frame on the wall to a kid yodeling in aisle 12 at Walmart.

Brew, drip, or press a fresh cup of joe with today’s best deals on coffee makers

To kick off the day with a fresh cup or upgrade your home coffee machine to accommodate the preferences of dinner guests, check these hot deals for drip coffee makers, espresso machines, and single-serving devices on Walmart and Amazon.
Smart Home

People are stealing Ring doorbells (and it’s no knock-knock joke)

Ring Video Doorbell thefts in a Denver neighborhood raise questions about how much security the smart home devices actually provide. One homeowner and the police have a video of the theft. Here's what to do if your Ring device is stolen.
Smart Home

Alexa’s latest skill helps patients manage high blood pressure

People who need some help managing their high blood pressure are getting some help via a new Alexa skill developed in partnership with Omron Healthcare that will work directly with the manufacturer's monitors.
Smart Home

Need a hot cup of coffee right now? These are the best Keurig machines

Keurig machines simplify the process of making that important morning cup of coffee, but picking the right model for you can be difficult. Here's a detailed breakdown of the best machines in Keurig's current lineup.
Smart Home

Amazon shows off compact cashier-free store that could show up at airports

Amazon is testing its smallest Amazon Go store to date as it considers taking the grab-and-go technology to new venues such as airports and train stations. The compact store is a quarter the size of its current locations.
Smart Home

Cops go after porch pirates with dummy Amazon boxes and GPS trackers

Amazon is helping police in Jersey City to catch thieves who steal delivered packages from outside people's homes. Within just minutes of the operation's launch this week, cops nabbed their first porch pirate.
Smart Home

A couple’s recalled dishwasher caught on fire — and now they’re warning others

A Wisconsin couple has been using the dishwasher in their house for a year, unaware that it was recalled in 2009. Then the appliance caught fire. Now they are warning others to check appliances for risks when buying or renting a home.
Smart Home

Amazon has some killer deals on vacuums through the holidays

Whether you're buying for someone else or for yourself, Amazon has some great deals on vacuums running through the holidays. Score them while you can and keep your home cleaner than ever.
Smart Home

Got an Emerson thermostat? 135,000 of them are being recalled due to fire risk

Most recalls are relatively benign but if you own an Emerson-branded thermostat, we encourage you to check your model number because the company has alerted consumers to the potential of the device starting a fire.
Smart Home

Amazon sent me a Christmas tree. Did it leave me pining for more?

Is driving to a Christmas tree lot or farm to get some fresh pine a daunting task that you dread every year? Good news: Amazon is now selling real Christmas trees with free shipping. We decided to order one to see how it went.