How safe is plastic wrap? Many of us have been made to believe that plastic wrap is an enemy, that it's leaching dangerous chemicals into our foods when we reheat leftovers in the microwave. Others just throw any caution to the wind and use plastic wrap in the microwave every day. So is plastic wrap safe to use? Or is this all just a food myth?
Are we hurting ourselves every time we reheat leftovers covered with plastic wrap?
Originally plastic wrap was made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Many plastic wraps still are, including those used in catering and professional kitchens. PVC-based plastic wraps are believed to leach plasticizers when heated. Fatty foods, meats, and cheeses in particular tend to draw out plasticizers from plastic wrap more so than other foods. Manufacturers now use other materials like polyvinylidene chloride (PVdC) and low density polyethylene (LDPE), both of which the FDA considers to be safe. But the only downsides of these plastic wraps is they tend not to cling as well as PVC.
There is a relatively new type of sealing plastic wrap made of a proprietary formula that only seals when you press it onto a container. It has similar ingredients found in chewing gum allowing it to stick. The FDA also considers this type of plastic wrap to be safe for use.
According to the FDA though, rigorous testing proves that the chance of plasticizers leaking from plastic wrap when heated is slim to none. Manufacturers must test their plastic wraps so that they adhere to FDA regulations and only then can the products carry a "microwave safe" label. The plastic wraps you'll find in the supermarket all have been okayed by the FDA and are safe to use. They should all say "microwave safe" on the packaging.
So what do you think? Do you trust that the FDA regulations are rigorous enough to ensure plastic wrap is safe? Let us know in the comments.