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Type 1 - polyethylene terephthalate (PET)

May be safe if marked "microwave safe", although some recommend against food contact when microwaving.

Type 2 - high density polyethylene (HDPE)

May be safe, although some recommend against food contact when microwaving.

Type 3 - PVC, polyvinyl chloride, vinyl

Do not use in microwave. Also, PVC often contains bisphenol A (BPA)

Type 4 - low density polyethylene (LDPE)

(mixed commentary regarding microwave safety)

Type 5 - polypropylene

May be safe, although some recommend against food contact when microwaving. "Type 5" are the most commonly labeled "microwave safe". Despite this, I have observed "Type 5" containers with partially dissolved surfaces, apparently from microwave use.

Type 6 - polystyrene, styrene, polystyrene foam

Not heat stable. Do not use in microwave. Do not microwave food in a styrofoam [1] container! In addition to not being heat stable, polystyrene is a potential human carcinogen and usually contains bisphenol A (BPA).

Type 7 - polycarbonate; "other" (can contain bisphenol A (BPA); most polycarbonate contains bisphenol A)

Do not use in microwave. (Note: Polycarbonate nursing bottles which have been boiled or washed more than 20 times or are badly scratched should be thrown out.)

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โˆ™ 2010-06-25 07:18:32
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Q: What plastics are microwave safe?
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Yes. There are many different safety concerns with plastics, but it is generally safe to use plastics marked #5 (polypropylene in the microwave). There are two concerns with plastics and heating or microwaving. One is that the plastic itself will become unstable. Polypropylene is considered quite stable under heating. More troubling is that there will be plasticizers, such as bisphenol-a, used in the manufacture of the product. These can definitely be dangerous. However, the US Dept of Health and Human Services states clearly that all plastics marked number 5 are "very unlikely" to contain any of these dangerous plasticizers. Those that do will be containers that are not used to contain food. A research group at McPherson college used mass spectrometry across a wide variety of polypropylene containers and found that there is no danger posed by microwaving polypropylene that contains food. If you want to lower your risk as far as possible, always microwave food in glass or plastics with an explicit "microwave safe" label. However, the evidence is overwhelming that polypropylene food containers poses no health risk in the microwave.


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