Leveraging leftovers is a time-saving, cost-effective strategy in the kitchen and I don't plan on giving up on leaning on them anytime soon. It's possible, say many researchers, that early exposure to chemicals like BPA is making more of us grow up to be chubby, infertile, or more prone to illness as kids and adults. Quickly, as the media coverage intensified, manufacturers and retailers took up the charge: Last spring, just when I was packing my kids' lunches with Nalgene water bottles, the company announced it was phasing out bottles made with BPA. As in, don't pull them from the oven and let them stand for an hour or so until they reach room temp, and then pack them away. My kids haven't reached puberty yet, and I don't want them to any earlier than nature intended. However, it is best to reheat it in a pan over low to medium heat. Just as a mom might prepare her family's dinner in her kitchen, GHRI scientists, working with chemists at an independent lab, heated samples of Old World Style Ragú Traditional Smooth Pasta Sauce and Heinz Home Style Gravy Savory Beef in the microwave in two different widely available storage containers and in glass bowls covered with a commonly used plastic wrap. In a study of mice, the ones fed BPA were more likely to give birth to offspring who became obese. From chips and dip to one-bite apps, finger foods are the perfect way to kick off a party. What part of the liturgical calendar are flowers removed from the sanctuary? But after it was reported that a consulting group used by the panel had ties to the industry, NTP scientists revised these findings, raising the level of concern. You should just dip the Tea bags in hot water for 3 minutes only. To get the truth behind the hype, Good Housekeeping tested 31 containers, lids, bags, wraps, and liners. It's OK to reheat chicken once if it has been cold, but be wary of putting it in the microwave, unless you're certain it can cook evenly all the way through. I sometimes buy food and drinks in plastic containers, I've been known to chop on a plastic cutting board, and I carry water around in a plastic bottle. Which brings us back to my kitchen and yours. But occasionally, I have leftovers. Before you heat up those leftover potatoes, you might want to read this first. In one study of adult men, those with higher-than-average phthalate levels tended to have a larger waist circumference and increased insulin resistance, precursors to diabetes. So wrong. No one really knows yet, but "we're concerned about how much exposure there is to this chemical and possible health repercussions," says Anila Jacob, M.D., a physician and senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit watchdog scientific organization. The American Chemistry Council says there are no phthalates in plastic food containers or wraps. The Microwave. To avoid food poisoning or other digestive upset, make sure those fluffy grains are stored in the fridge in an airtight container right after cooking. Or, at least it used to be before I discovered that reheating certain items can be a health hazard. How likely is this? In short, we gathered together a potpourri of the kind of plastic items most of us use for heating foods. Today, as DES children — and now DES grandchildren — have grown up, doctors have cataloged a long list of reproductive and other abnormalities linked to the drug. Phthalates, too, may cause reproductive problems. When cooked potatoes are left out at room temperature or warmed up for a second time, they can take a toxic turn for the worst. Until recently, researchers had no way to detect the small amounts that are at the heart of this controversy. The advice issued by the watchdog of waste poses a threat to how people view their tea break rather than encouraging people to be less wasteful. First, reports quoted scientists and environmental groups saying that the same containers and wraps that have made life so convenient may contain chemicals that can pose dangers to health: bisphenol A (BPA), which, among its many roles, is used to make a type of hard plastic, and certain phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates), a wide range of chemicals that, among their many uses, soften plastic. (Ironically, it turned out that DES didn't prevent the miscarriages for which it had been prescribed in the first place.) Reheating in the microwave causes a film to develop due to the milk. Traditionally, government toxicologists have operated under the well-known theory that "the dose makes the poison" — the more chemical you ingest, the sicker you get. All Rights Reserved. There are many ways moms try to protect their families. In 2000, the EPA established the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program. And when I cook those dishes to enjoy for more than one meal, the microwave becomes my reliable companion throughout the week. ... Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on half power. Nitrites can affect the oxygen level in the blood, become toxic and cause food poisoning when reheated. Like BPA, phthalates have been "added" to most of us as well. How long will the footprints on the moon last? When you are microwaving your tea, be sure to remove the tag on the tea bag, if you are microwaving it together. If you find yourself with quite a few leftovers, store the potatoes in multiple plastic containers and refrigerate promptly so that they cool down faster. Next, the lab tested these four items with "food simulants" — chemicals designed to stand in for real food in a lab. ", "We think girls are maturing younger and younger," says Mount Sinai's Dr. Galvez, "and we're now trying to find out if endocrine disruptors play a role." I'm sure you've done so plenty of times without harmful side effects, but you may have experienced some digestive discomfort that you don't even remember now--something mild that could have been worse under slightly different circumstances. The same rules outlined above for spinach likewise apply to celery and carrots. BPA and phthalates are what are known as endocrine disruptors — chemicals that can interfere with our hormone systems, mimicking, shutting down, or modifying the chemical signals that regulate everything from metabolism and reproduction to our bodies' response to stress. For hot-brewed tea, it is recommended that you don’t keep your tea in the fridge more than 8 hours. How will understanding of attitudes and predisposition enhance teaching? And when these containers and cans and bottles and CD cases end up in landfills, BPA can leach into rivers and streams, possibly reentering our homes — and bodies — through tap water. In contrast, the European Commission has already begun screening chemicals for possible endocrine effects, and has identified 320 that will be subject to additional, rigorous testing. However, the fact that so many of us have the compound in our bodies means that we're exposed to it daily, says Dr. Jacob. As convenient as it is to pan-fry one juicy chicken breast on a hectic weeknight, sometimes I want a casserole, a pasta dish, or soup--all meals that weren’t necessarily created with single folks in mind. And avoid putting plastic items in the dishwasher; the detergent and heat break down the plastic, which may cause BPA, if it's present, to leach out. Using a microwave to heat up tea isn’t just looked down on by particular tea drinkers sipping their Earl Grey. We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we back. To limit your family's exposure: Despite BPA's pervasiveness in nearly all of us, the actual amount found in our blood and urine is very small — perhaps equivalent to mere drops of water in a swimming pool. Now all of this is to say--don't live in fear of leftovers, but do be careful and mindful of how you store them and enjoy them for a second time around.