Microwave ovens are found in almost every household. Everyone uses it to heat rice, hot dishes, etc., which is very convenient. Place leftovers from the previous meal on a plate or in a microwave-safe container and heat them up for a few minutes. However, I suggest that after reading this article, you should try not to use plastic plates and bowls in the microwave to heat them in the future. Even plastic products specially designed for microwave ovens are not recommended.
In July 2023, the journal "Environmental Science and Technology" published a study on the release of microplastics and nanoplastics from plastic containers under different use scenarios. The study found that microwave heating resulted in the highest release of microplastics and nanoplastics into food compared to refrigerated or room temperature use, with more than 2 billion nanoplastics and 4 million microplastics released per square centimeter of container.
The researchers selected a "food-grade plastic container" composed of polypropylene and polyethylene. After heating it in a microwave oven for 3 minutes, they analyzed the liquid in the container and found many microplastics (about 1 micron in diameter) and more. For small nanoscale plastic particles, it is estimated that 4.22 million micron plastic particles and 2.11 billion nanoplastic particles will be released in 1 square centimeter of plastic.
Researchers also found that if plastic containers are used for heating liquids, including water, milk, etc., the largest number of micron plastic particles are produced; if they are only used for refrigerated storage of food or beverages, the number of micron plastic particles released is There would be much less plastic.
In other words, if you use a microwave oven to heat food every day, it is best not to use plastic containers, even "food-grade plastic containers".
Plastic products have become indispensable in people's production and life. However, the widespread use of plastic products also increases the risk of microplastics entering the body.
Microplastics are difficult to be metabolized and absorbed by the human body, and the part that cannot be excreted will accumulate in the body. If it exceeds a certain amount, it may cause varying degrees of damage to organs and cells. What’s even more shocking is that scientists have discovered the presence of microplastics in multiple organs of the human body.
In April 2023, a study jointly published by an international scientific team in "Nano Materials" showed that new research on mice showed that microplastic particles can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain in only 2 hours after being in the body of a subject.
Some microplastic particles can penetrate the intestinal tract and blood-brain barrier in a relatively short period of time. Plastic particles in the brain may increase the risk of inflammation, neurological disorders and even neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, researchers say
In 2022, a study published in the authoritative journal "Environment International" showed that microplastics were found in the blood of experimenters. This also means that microplastics may have spread throughout various organs of the human body, posing great health risks.
In 2018, the European Society of Gastroenterology reported for the first time the detection of up to 9 types of microplastics in human feces, with diameters ranging from 50 microns to 500 microns. Microplastics will reach the human intestines and stomach and may affect the digestive system.
An article published in "China School Health" in 2022 by Li Mingju and others from the School of Public Health of China Medical University pointed out that the air sampling results of the human body model showed that a lightly active male can inhale close to 300 microplastic particles every day. In the cancer tissue and adjacent lung tissue specimens of lung cancer patients, cellulose and plastic microfibers can be seen in pathological examination.
A study published in the authoritative journal "International Environment" in 2020 showed that researchers tested the placentas of 6 healthy pregnant women and detected "microplastic particles" of 5 to 10 microns in 4 of the placentas⑥ . This shows that microplastics can affect the human body through the placental barrier.