How screwed am I from eating food out of a microwaved bowl?
March 17, 2010 3:53 PM   Subscribe

How screwed am I from eating food out of a microwaved bowl?

Made a 5 minute cake in a plastic bowl, microwaved it and now I'm worried about any health issues that spring for it. Is it possible this may cause cancer? Do plastics cause cancer? Should I chuck away any plastic handled spoons etc?
posted by Jazzwick to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
You'll be fine.
posted by nestor_makhno at 3:55 PM on March 17, 2010


This is yet another example of you needing therapy, per your posting history.
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:57 PM on March 17, 2010 [55 favorites]


This is a little over the top. Eating a meal from a microwaved bowl isn't suddenly going to cause tumors to sprout up all over your body.

You'll be fine.
posted by abstractdiode at 3:57 PM on March 17, 2010


Why are you worried about the spoon handles?
posted by R. Mutt at 3:57 PM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


While there are some concerns about microwaves and plastic*, my boss has been eating microwaved meals out of plastic containers every day for at least nine years and hasn't died yet. I'd hazard a guess that this one indiscretion won't do you any long-term harm.

*the validity of those concerns is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by lekvar at 4:12 PM on March 17, 2010


At what point in the process did your brain decide to make this an issue? You chose the bowl, put the ingredients in the bowl, microwaved it, and then ate it. Your brain waited until after the "damage had been done" for you to start obsessing about it? That's a great sign that nothing at all is even close to being at risk from doing something millions of people do every day.
posted by disillusioned at 4:13 PM on March 17, 2010 [2 favorites]




I agree with Jaltcoh, and I want to add in light of your previous questions, I am concerned for your safety. I am worried that your obsession(s) might progress to the point where you refrain from eating (enough). Please seek help.
posted by desjardins at 4:17 PM on March 17, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'll probably starting thrapy tomorrow.
posted by Jazzwick at 4:23 PM on March 17, 2010


Should I chuck away any plastic handled spoons etc?

Aren't you using a keyboard and mouse made of plastic this very second? Even if plastics are dangerous, you have higher priorities for reducing your exposure to them. Similar to the red ink question, this is probably a good opportunity to talk about what the underlying issue is that has you hypochondriacking about plastic in your silverware.
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:28 PM on March 17, 2010


According to the janitor at work, contrails are evidence that the government is trying to poison us.

While I buy into the theory that microwaved plastic is bad for you and will ultimately cause cancer, it needs to work its magic over time and through extended use. A few exposures will not kill you before all the other carcinogens that you meet on a daily basis will. There are many potential carcinogens out there to worry about but you will never find a way to cheat death and avoid them all. Take comfort in the knowledge that even with exposure to these carcinogens you will still have a higher life expectancy than most of the world's population.
posted by JJ86 at 5:09 PM on March 17, 2010


I'll probably starting thrapy tomorrow.

Probably, hell. You will start therapy tomorrow.

Every time you post you're "oh I'm in therapy now," "oh I'm not in therapy anymore," "I'm on medication, although I confess I don't have I can have at the moment."

Get back in therapy, and stop skipping your meds (assuming that's what 'I don't have I can have' mean.) You clearly need both.
posted by ook at 5:23 PM on March 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


This is an irrational fear. The plastic is the least of your worries here.
posted by Ouisch at 5:35 PM on March 17, 2010


Ok. I've wondered about this, too. And the whole thing about bottled water - the chemicals that might leech into your food or water, etc. It's probaly minimal - seeing as many people eat this way more than once a week (and are still "ok" thirty years later). If you want to avoid such - it's easy enough to use glass, or, for that matter, to use an oven. Stop using plastic anyway (it's a twee bit nicer to the planet). And don't worry ONE plastic item in the microwave never killed anyone. Just make some changes to be healthier.
posted by marimeko at 6:28 PM on March 17, 2010


Go see a psychologist. That's the only answer that is going to help you.
posted by Justinian at 6:29 PM on March 17, 2010


God, see, I always tell my girlfriend that reading the scare stories in the health section of the paper is bad for people. This thread proves my point. Thank you. Now go and relax.
posted by Dasein at 8:06 PM on March 17, 2010


Tough love approach here from a fellow OCD sufferer...your questions are stupid and pointless, and you need to stop asking them.

Whenever you get the urge to post something like this, don't. Really, just don't. It may hurt, but it will be a step in the right direction.

Do what you need to do in therapy. Take your meds, go through whatever non-medical therapies work for you. You need to get on this. It's a problem that is damaging your life.

You'll know you're getting better when you can look at your question-posting history here and realize how foolish you were being. And, when you do that, make sure you laugh it off. Don't feel embarrassed or guilty. We all have our moments.

Really, though, please stop posting these questions. They are doing you more harm than good, and I mean that sincerely.
posted by hiteleven at 8:07 PM on March 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Tough love approach here from a fellow OCD sufferer...your questions are stupid and pointless, and you need to stop asking them.

I faved this post because the latter parts are great, but I personally don't resonate with the tough love approach. The questions aren't stupid or pointless; rather, they are irrational and reflect a struggle with a really debilitating disorder (like you, hiteleven, I've been there) that sometimes can benefit by a bunch of strangers reminding you that it's the disorder talking, not you, and reminding you why you're in therapy/taking meds in the first place. In that way, there is a point to them.
posted by emilyd22222 at 8:20 PM on March 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I faved this post because the latter parts are great, but I personally don't resonate with the tough love approach. The questions aren't stupid or pointless; rather, they are irrational and reflect a struggle with a really debilitating disorder (like you, hiteleven, I've been there) that sometimes can benefit by a bunch of strangers reminding you that it's the disorder talking, not you, and reminding you why you're in therapy/taking meds in the first place. In that way, there is a point to them.

I see your point, but the repetitiveness of these questions gets very frustrating. 1) Jazzwick makes some outrageous claim. 2) People tell him it's outrageous and that he needs therapy. 3) Jazzwick makes some excuse about going to therapy "tomorrow", or something like that. 4) Another question shows up when the week-long waiting period is up.

I don't mean to sound mean. I just want to drill it into Jazzwick's head that this is getting him nowhere. He is banging his head against a wall. I do apologize if my language was harsh, but I'm trying to do my best to help someone on-line, which is obviously not easy to do.
posted by hiteleven at 8:35 PM on March 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sure, this is doubtless tied up with your predisposition to anticipate vastly out-of-proportion consequences for your actions. There is a perfectly valid question in it nonetheless.

I feel like I take these sorts of questions fairly seriously and come at them from a realistic perspective. My education background is in chemistry, I work in science and I'm a father of a young child, so these answers are important to me.

A single exposure is really meaningless in this context. The potential harm in this sort of exposure is about repeated exposure over a longer term.

That said, in a nutshell, no, there is not a credible cancer threat in plastics that are listed microwave-safe. There are claims otherwise. On my own examination of them I do not find them credible. Plastics not meant for cooking may introduce chemicals into your system it would be better not to ingest.

There is an arguable issue with potentially endocrine-disrupting chemicals like BPA leaching into food. I say arguable because I'm not convinced anyone has demonstrated in a realistic context even using the "bad" plastic containers are contributing significantly to our general environmental exposure to these chemicals. I believe they should be studied further and dealt with on a policy basis (ban in certain uses, accelerate the search for alternatives to them in general). That being said I certainly made sure my kid got BPA-free sippy cups etc.

General, smart plastic rules of thumb: Don't use plastics labeled 3 6 or 7 to store or cook food, or uncoded plastics that are not labeled microwave- and/or dishwasher- safe. Many food-storage containers (like margarine tubs) shouldn't be used for cooking, it's best to just avoid them. Rinse canned vegetables before cooking: the cans may be coated with plastic.

Microwave-safe glass and ceramic containers are a decent and versatile investment to make it all a moot point. They can be used again and again as long as you don't break them, they don't melt or warp, they don't get stained or start to smell as easily. I like having plastic containers, they're handy, they don't really worry me (following the simple rules), but I tend more and more to transfer things to cook.
posted by nanojath at 8:37 PM on March 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


Jazzwick, get thee to a therapist, and quit bandaging your insecurities with attention from Mefites. Said with love. Really. Shut up and go.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:32 AM on March 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought I would just pop in and say that the MetaTalk callout was really mean-spirited, and I hope you don't take it personally. I hope you feel better soon.

As well, the danger from microwaving most plastics is incremental - it takes a long time to build up in your body. We all ingest similar kinds of chemicals from outgassing from carpets, from paint on the walls, from the plastics in a car, from the plastic on a TV set, from a computer...

This is something we all have to deal with, and most of us can manage it mentally.

You should really seek the help of a psychiatrist rather than a psychologist, and should perhaps take some sort of medication that helps with OCD and anxiety.

You owe it to yourself to live better.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:57 AM on March 18, 2010


I agree that the "tough love" approach is not the best approach, and think perhaps a little more compassion is warranted here. However irritating people may have found your questions, Jazzwick, I know from personal experience they're enormously more irritating to you, the person who has to deal with them all the time.

Seconding the psychiatrist/medication rec, and I sincerely hope you feel better soon.
posted by Pochemuchka at 1:03 PM on March 18, 2010


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