Plastic is obviously the most convenient material in the modern kitchen. But some types contain toxic compounds that can easily migrate into food, especially when heat and/or fat are involved. Which makes it more than wise to take special precautions when it comes to food and plastic during pregnancy—whatever gets into your food can get into you and your growing baby, too! Here’s a quick guide to staying safe when you’re expecting:
- Never microwave food in plastic of any kind, including so-called “microwave-safe” containers and self-serve food packaging. Use glassware instead or simply reheat food on the stove.
- Don’t serve or store foods in plastic containers, especially hot or acidic foods or those containing fats or oils.
- If you do store food in plastic containers, use only plastics #2 HDPE, #4 LDPE, and #5 PP for that purpose. These types are currently considered safest for food storage.
- Skip products packaged in #1 PETE plastic, like disposable water, juice, and soda bottles. Studies show that under certain conditions PETE can leach unhealthy amounts of antimony, a toxic metalloid that causes health effects similar to arsenic. And remember that #1 bottles aren’t meant for reuse!
- Avoid #7 polycarbonate plastic containers and bottles. This plastic type can release bisphenol-A (BPA), a common endocrine-disrupting agent, into the foods and liquids stored inside.
- Don’t wash plastic containers in the dishwasher and/or with dishwasher detergents containing chlorine. This can accelerate the leaching of toxic plastic compounds. They should be hand washed with warm water.
- Avoid deli wrap and similar plastic wraps. These can contain phthalates, endocrine disrupting chemicals linked to reproductive, mental, motor, and behavioral developmental effects.
- Recycle or throw out your old plastic containers, especially those that are heavily worn or scratched. Plastics tend to leach increasing amounts of the chemicals they contain with wear and tear.
- Use glass bottles for infant feedings.
To learn more about how to have—and enjoy!—a non-toxic pregnancy, explore our new e-book, Easy Steps to a Safe & Healthy Pregnancy. It’s free to download.