Doctors Caution Parents Against Microwaving Children’s Food in Plastic Containers

A report published in the August 2018 issue of Pediatrics warns parents to stop reheating meals for their children in plastic containers. 

“Food Additives and Child Health” provides a host of recommendations about unsafe additives for children, such as colorings, flavorings, and chemicals, intentionally added to food. But a group of doctors are asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to also consider risks that may be less obvious, like dangerous chemicals found in plastic. 

Phthalates, for instance, are commonly used in plasticizers, and perchlorate is often found in plastic packaging. Previous studies have found exposure to phthalates can result in insulin resistance among adolescents, and it may increase childhood obesity and contribute to cardiovascular disease, according to a release accompanying the study. Perchlorate has been documented to negatively impact the thyroid, and it is suspected to play a role in neonatal hypothyroidism, as well as negatively impact early life brain development and growth, the release stated. 

The impacts are more detrimental for children because their bodies are still growing and developing. They also consume more food (relative to body weight) than adults. 

The authors make seven recommendations, four of which pertain to plastic:

  • Avoid microwaving food or beverages (including infant formula and pumped human milk) in plastic, if possible. 
  • Avoid placing plastics in the dishwasher. 
  • Use alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible. 
  • Look at the recycling code on the bottom of products to find the plastic type, and avoid plastics with recycling codes 3 (phthalates), 6 (styrene), and 7 (bisphenols) unless plastics are labeled as “biobased” or “greenware,” indicating that they are made from corn and do not contain bisphenols. 

Read about the connection between obesity and depression in children. 

Source: Pediatrics 

Kaitlyn D’Onofrio is a digital medical writer. She is interested in musculoskeletal health, the effect of exercise on health, and mental health awareness. When she’s not writing for DocWire, Kaitlyn is teaching yoga classes in her community, promoting wellness to her students.