What are the health concerns about plastic food containers?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
In addition to being convenient and inexpensive, plasticware is a great way to take food on the go. The problem is that some plastics contain BPA, a dangerous chemical that’s been linked to neurological damage, thyroid issues and even cancer. Manufacturers include the chemical to make plastics that are light, durable and resilient. Most plastic items that are labeled with the number 7 for recycling purposes contain BPA. When these containers are heated, either in the microwave or dishwasher, they slowly melt and decompose, causing BPA to leach into your food.

Follow these guidelines when using these containers:
  • Never put a plastic container in the microwave or dishwasher. While some containers are listed as “microwave-safe,” that only means they’re resistant to melting – not that chemicals won’t leach into your dinner.
  • Wait for leftovers to cool before putting them into these containers.
  • Throw away misshapen or cracked containers.
Purchase versatile plastic containers designed to go in the microwave and store hot food—they will say “BPA-free” and are worth the investment! Glass storage containers are also widely available. They’re lightweight, feature BPA-free plastic lids and are safe in both the microwave and oven.

This content originally appeared on
The concern with plastic food containers is the transfer of chemicals into the food. Recently, there has been a lot of interest in bisphenol A (BPA). In larger amounts, BPA has been shown to interfere with hormones, primarily estrogen. It is unknown whether the amounts we are exposed to in foods or water bottles affect our bodies. It is important to note that most cans have "plasticizers" and therefore are also a potential source of BPA and other chemicals.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.