Irrespective of the vast technological advancements that India has seen, a majority of Indian homes are still not the ‘microwave it and eat it’ kind. The reason is that people still fear the repercussions of using the microwave on a continuous basis, and it had been found that it might be with good reason.
Scientists have now found that heating food in a microwave, those that are heated in plastic containers, in particular, are extremely hazardous to health and can cause diseases like infertility, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, cancer and damages to normal brain functioning. This is attributed to the fact that heating plastic containers in a microwave result in the release of 95% of the chemicals in it.
“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,” explains Dr. Nitasha Gupta, IVF expert, Indira IVF Hospital, New Delhi.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found, after continuous observations, that more than 90% of the population has measurable levels of bisphenol A in their bodies. It is important to note that plastic contains various other carcinogens including PVC, styrene, and dioxin.
“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,” Dr. Nitasha Gupta added.
“Glass never transfer chemicals the same way as plastic, and is much safer for heating your meals in,” suggests Dr. Swati, a Hyderabad based gynecologist. “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 affect both male and female fertility,” she explains.
Another study done by the American society of reproductive health has stated that BPA also inhibits embryo implantation due to which it is linked to higher levels of in-vitro fertilization and might also lead to miscarriages.