This is a question I have been asked so many times I have lost count, and easily the question I have been asked the most so far in 2017. So I’ve decided to create a blog post that I can link to for anyone asking me this question from now on. This will make sure that those who are asking get a comprehensive response that is more rich than I could easily offer in a comment on our Little Earth Nest Facebook page.
Is Replay Microwave Safe?
Microwave safe plastic just means to us that the plastic doesn’t melt in the microwave. We don’t recommend any plastics for microwaving; we believe that no plastic should be heated to a high temperature with food in it without concern for safety and chemical leaching of some kind. Microwave safe doesn’t give any guarantees about chemical leaching into food. The plastics industry is not highly regulated in some manufacturing locations and there are a lot of questions about toxicity of a variety of plastics ingredients under high heat. Our Replay dinnerware is BPA and BPS free, lead free plastics – made in the USA under stringent testing procedures, but they are not recommended for use in the microwave. I recommend using glass or ceramic to microwave food and then transferring that food to a non breakable solution once at eating temperature.
Does this mean that Replay isn’t safe for hot food?
Placing hot food in Replay plates and Replay bowls etc is not the same as heating the entire plate or bowl in the super high heating conditions of a microwave. Replay is safe to use with food from -100 degrees celsius to 80 degrees celsius. Our Replay plates, bowls tumblers and more are made from a #2 plastic called HDPE or High Density Polyethylene that can be recycled again and again. It is a high quality type of plastic that is widely recommended for use around food, food storage and is resistant to fading. It is also very UV stable in comparison with other plastic alternatives, meaning that the famous Replay rainbow of colours won’t fade easily. Indeed the colours used in the Replay range are also FDA approved.
Why will we not recommend Replay as Microwave Safe?
We have formed our position on microwaving plastic after years of research in the area of chemical exposures, use of chemicals in toys and children’s product, and in a reasonably in depth understanding of chemistry and material sciences. I’ve been running my business for over a decade and take this really to heart. Myself and my husband Rick who is an Electrician with some engineering education, approach everything we do with a healthy dose of skepticism and work to find a strong scientific basis for any of our opinions. Plastic toxicity is not something I can educate you on in a short FB paragraph but you are of course welcome to do your own research, and we very much respect the right of anyone to reach their own decisions on any matter we post about or any product we sell.
We believe that plastic is an inherently toxic product, there is a lot more to the concerns about it than some buzz word ‘bad stuff’ that we can encourage you to avoid and provide you assurance that your health will not be affected in any way. Nevertheless there is demand for a more clean and safe plastic product and that demand has been met as much as is possible with the Replay range. The difference between any old plastic and our product is that to the best of our knowledge Replay plastic is stable at room temperature and moderate heat, whereas the BPA and BPS containing plastic you might buy in the supermarket or thrift store is and was not. What we know now is that the KNOWN ‘bad’ ingredients can be avoided, and that for those known ingredients, heat made chemical leaching worse. That said, some of those ‘bad’ ingredients were actually even found to be relatively inert until heated. I’m making this as easy to read as possible but obviously we are talking about complex chemical science.
Therefore although our Replay Recycled products are without question among the cleanest kids plastic cups, plates and bowls on the market, and as clearly articulated are free from known questionable ingredients such as BPA, BPS, PVC, Lead and Phthalates; we will stop short of recommending high heat of them. They are made in the USA and tested to meet FDA standards for food. Microwave testing standards take into account the fact that it is not yet determined whether plastic is a risk at high heat, and therefore considers how long the plastic will be in contact with food and what surface area of the plastic is in contact with food, too. In the case of children’s dinnerware both can be expected to be long values. Most of the plate or bowl is covered with food and exposed to high heat and then the super high heated food stays in the super high heated plate. My understanding is that Replay has not even been tested to these standards, knowing that those standards are based on indeterminate science on the outcomes of the super high heat.
The easiest way that I can phrase it for you is that microwaving plastic will not only create the concern of what additional chemicals you definitely will ingest based on strong scientific evidence, if using plastic that contains BPA or BPS etc; it creates concern that you might ingest any of the compounds within the plastic that you are heating from colours to stabilizers and beyond that have otherwise seemed to be relatively inert with the exception of super high heat. The reason for this is that the very basic of chemical compounds that make up plastic are not yet determined to be stable at superheated conditions (that a microwave can create) at this time. Whilst plastic is a long chain polymer, in the right (or wrong as the case may be) conditions their monomers that form the chain may become free [to ingest].
In 2017 there is a lot of data available, about the amount of plastics being found in urine and in other bodily fluids and tissues – and the data suggests throughout research for the amounts found to be very minimal, however we respect that everyone is free to reach their own conclusion about avoidance of the potential for chemical exposures – particularly those that may impact on our health status and cancer risks either now or in later life.
In addition to all this health concern, whilst this high quality recycled plastic might not melt, it may break down in the microwave and indeed many of our customers care about that and about staining.
You are of course more than welcome to reach your own conclusions, however what has been asked is for us to make a statement about whether these products are microwave safe, and we are comfortable to provide you our own well informed answer of the opinion that they are not. And it has nothing to do with this not being an amazing product at the pinnacle of what is available in an eco friendly plastic and everything to do with us being informed, responsible, honest and risk averse people.
Further reading on plastic and microwave safety:
If you would like to undertake further reading, these are the best simple language articles that we can recommend for you:
Yours in good health and happy parenting, Pip.