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Question Hello Kurma,

I have read the answers you wrote about the dangers of using microwaves for cooking {http://www.kurma.net/faq/ask42.html}. What about for just re-heating food. Is that still unsafe? By the way, I love your cookbooks.

Bill Duckworth, Memphis, Tennessee

AnswerHello Bill,

Thanks for writing. I have been doing some reading lately. There is a letter circulating that has its source at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and The Johns Hopkins University. Baltimore, Maryland.

Apparently, they are recommending that we don't use plastic containers or plastic wrap to cover foods when we reheat food in the microwave oven. They also suggest that we don't freeze water in plastic bottles. Why is this? Dioxins.

In a nutshell, Dioxin chemicals causes cancer, especially breast cancer. Dioxins are highly poisonous to the cells of our bodies.

Dr. Edward Fujimoto, Wellness Program manager at Castle Hospital, recently was on a TV program in the US to explain this health hazard. He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us.

He said that we should not be heating our food in the microwave using plastic
containers. This applies to foods that contain fat. He said that the combination of fat, high heat, and plastics releases dioxin into the food and ultimately into the cells of the body. Instead, he recommends using glass, Corning Ware, or ceramic containers for heating food. You get the same results, only without the dioxin.

So such things as TV dinners, instant ramen and soups, etc.,  (if you eat these things!) should be removed from the container and heated in something else. Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It's just safer to use tempered glass, Corning Ware, etc.

He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons.

Also, he pointed out that Saran wrap ( we call it Glad wrap in Australia) is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave. As the food is 'nuked', the high heat causes poisonous toxins to leech out of the plastic wrap and 'drip' into the food. Cover food with a paper towel instead.

Also, apparently freezing plastic bottles with water in them releases dioxins from the plastic.

So there's my answer. If you have to use microwaves, it may be useful to consider these points.

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