Some plastics are microwaveable and some aren’t. This is because small amounts of BPA or plasticizers can leach off of the plastic into your food, contaminating it with “endocrine disrupters” that could wreak havoc to your hormones and wellbeing.
However, other plastics like Tupperware are BPA-free or perfectly microwaveable. Then again, thin plastic tends to be most likely to leak plasticizers anyway.
Can You Microwave Saran Wrap?
Yeah. Just remember to check the label if it’s microwave-safe or not. If it’s labeled as such, then you can use it for microwave use. Saran Wrap or wrap, by the way, is a popular brand of plastic wrap the same way Pyrex is a popular glassware brand.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), high-grade plastic wrap like Saran is safe for microwave use the same way name brand plastic container maker Tupperware is also microwaveable.
They’ve been tested and approved by the like of USDA and even the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for microwave safeness. They have the label included in every product for good measure. There are several caveats to this, of course.
Things to Avoid When Microwaving Saran Wrap
Saran wrap is perfectly safe for microwave usage because it’s not the cheap kind of wrap that easily melts from the regular heat offered by a microwave. Superheated microwaved food is a whole other kettle of fish, of course, but superheated anything can melt or break most materials anyway.
However, you should never let Saran wrap get into contact with your food when being microwaved. It should only serve as the lid atop a bowl, with the dish or soup not touching the plastic at all. Therefore, it’s a no-no to microwave a plate of pasta with Saran wrap on top of it.
Poke Holes in Your Saran Wrap Cover
Aside from that, you’re allowed to poke holes in the Saran wrap in order to serve as pressure release points for your food. As your dish is microwaved, its water molecules are excited enough to raise its temperature within a minute’s time or less.
If a bowl of food is sealed with Saran wrap with no pressure holes included, this creates pressure from the expanding mass of steam from the food, which could lead to a messy accident down the line.
The Safeness of Saran Wrap Explained
Saran wrap is microwave-safe according to the USDA and FDA, hence them getting their seal of approval in the form of the microwave-safe logo and label. This makes Saran wrap a viable food covering option along with hard plastic lids, ceramic plates, or paper towels.
They’re mostly there to prevent splash-back of splattering-hot microwaved food (like fatty pork chops). Although Saran wrap is thin it doesn’t melt easily, especially if it’s used as a cover over a bowl instead of directly wrapped around hot food.
Microwaving Saran Wrap vs. Other Plastics
Anything with the FDA-approved and USDA-approved microwave-safe label assures you that your plastic or Styrofoam material can be safely used with a microwave (but for a certain amount of time and at a temperature limit).
Tupperware and other FDA-approved plastic container brands are considered safe for microwave usage when they have the microwave-safe label on them. This is also the case with Saran wrap and other quality brands of plastic food wrapping products.
Don’t Microwave Damaged or Compromised Plastics
Just make sure that your plastic wrap or container doesn’t come in a compromised state, like so soft it’s practically disintegrating to your touch. You should definitely not microwave those plastics no matter what they’re labeled with.
As a rule of thumb, the thicker the plastic the less likely it will melt from microwave food heating. However, Saran wrap is quite resilient and BPA-free despite being available in a thin sheet or veneer.
Microwaveable Plastics Don’t Leak Plasticizers
It’s not enough that your microwaveable plastic doesn’t easily burn from being microwaved. It should also not leach off or leak toxicity and chemicals into your food, thus contaminating it. You should specifically watch out for the following
- Phtalates: A plasticizer that makes plastic flexible and soft.
- Bisphenol-A (BPA): A plasticizer known to create hard, clear plastic.
These two are known as plasticizers. They’re chemicals put into plastic for the sake of shaping or stabilizing it. These two chemicals should never end up in your food, even in minute quantities. This is because they’re known as endocrine disrupters that are viewed by your body as hormones.
If you don’t want your body’s hormonal system disrupted by the presence of plasticizers in your food, then always make sure to check the label of your plastic wrap to ensure that it’s microwave-safe (like in the case of Saran wrap).
Dioxins vs. Plasticizers
Cancer-causing or carcinogenic chemicals known as dioxins occur when you burn garbage (i.e., a dumpster fire). Garbage is typically filled with wood, metal, plastics, and other flammable materials that produce deadly fumes and dangerous toxins when burned up.
Early on, people were concerned about how microwaving plastic produced dioxins because it’s an established fact that burning garbage produces cancer-inducing dioxins. However, there’s no conclusive proof that the same scenario can happen in a microwave.
Burning Garbage Isn’t Microwaved Plastic
Garbage isn’t plastic alone and even burning plastic alone doesn’t result in dioxin production. Furthermore, slightly hot plastic holding food heated by the microwave doesn’t produce dioxins at all. The real dangers of microwaving plastic (and “plastic” itself is an umbrella term) is plasticizer leaching.
Most non-microwaveable plastic containers or wrappers leach off small amounts of BPA and phtalates unto your food, which affect your hormone balance. Microwave-safe plastic materials are certified by the FDA and USDA as BPA-free or phtalate-free.
To Sum, it All Up
The thinner the plastic container the more likely it will leak BPA and Phthalates, right? So how is it that Saran wrap is considered microwave-safe? It’s because it’s made of high-grade plastic that doesn’t easily melt under microwave heat and pressure.
Additionally, it meets all the USDA and FDA standards when it comes to not easily degrading under microwave-produced heat or leaching off plasticizers. Otherwise, it wouldn’t get their seal of approval as microwave-safe.