Plastic trays and utensils are convenient and easy to use and maintain, but they are not as harmless as one might think.
When plastic gets in contact with heat, it emanates substances that are toxic to the human body, so food and hot drinks should never be stored or heated in plastic dishes.
The most dangerous compound in plastics is Bisphenol A (BPA), which, according to studies made by the National Institute of Health in the United States, can contaminate food or liquids if they are heated in a microwave or if they come into contact with hot liquids or acids.
The consequences on health are quite serious, even when small amounts of BPA are ingested: hyperactivity and a weakened learning power, risk of obesity, weakened immune system, infertility (ovarian diseases in women and a lowered the amount of sperm in men), diabetes and cancer. BPA is found in plastic kitchenware, bowls and dishes.
Another hidden danger in the kitchen can be PVC, the material from which plastic tablecloths are made. Prolonged exposure to PVC can damage the liver and cause cancer according to specialists.
Plastic PET bottles are also dangerous. Washing them with hot water causes them release chemicals, and if they are frozen in the freezer, they can release dioxin, a highly toxic substance.
Non-stick coating contains fluorinated compounds called PFC (perfluorochemical), which may emit toxic gases when heated to a high temperature.
Choose carefully the plastic dishes you buy to store food in, and always read the labels. Search for the PC symbol engraved in a triangle and a digit between 1 and 7, and avoid plastic marked with 3 or 7.
Use kitchen tablecloths made from textile as well as stainless steel, glass or wood utensils, and avoid plastic products as much as possible.