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Old 04-24-2009, 11:25 AM   #21
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The newest concerns with plastic utensils and cutting boards is not bacteria. It is the possibility that phthalates and/or bisphenol A, used in plastics to make them, well, plastic, may leach into foods. Phthalates are plasticizers. They make plastics flexible. They are also endocrine disruptors, and interfere with normal hormone production. They have been shown to stop production of testosterone in young boys, causing physical feminization. They also disrupt estrogen production in women. Bisphenol A is a known carcinogen. Silicon or natural rubber spatulas are cool. I replaced my old polycarbonate VitaMix containers, which contain phthalates, with their new Lexan containers, which do not. VM made the shift in container material recently, and say it is not for this reason, but they do offer a very reasonable price on container upgrade packages. I don't use coated non-stick cookware...cast iron is non-stick when properly seasoned, and tin-lined copper pretty much is, too. And my kitchen is a nuke-free zone. I do still use a plastic flexi cutting board when I chop veggies for juicing, as there is little or no chance for chemical leaching and the cutting "board" makes a great funnel to get the veggies down the throat of my Champion juicer...I know, I know...Champion juicer parts=plastic. It's nylon, and contains neither of the above mentioned badnesses. You might note that Cuisinart food processors have switched from polycarbonate workbowls to Lexan as well. How much of these things get into our food, and under what conditions, is still under study.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:10 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by gadzooks View Post
The newest concerns with plastic utensils and cutting boards is not bacteria. It is the possibility that phthalates and/or bisphenol A, used in plastics to make them, well, plastic, may leach into foods. Phthalates are plasticizers. They make plastics flexible. They are also endocrine disruptors, and interfere with normal hormone production. They have been shown to stop production of testosterone in young boys, causing physical feminization. They also disrupt estrogen production in women. Bisphenol A is a known carcinogen. Silicon or natural rubber spatulas are cool. I replaced my old polycarbonate VitaMix containers, which contain phthalates, with their new Lexan containers, which do not. VM made the shift in container material recently, and say it is not for this reason, but they do offer a very reasonable price on container upgrade packages. I don't use coated non-stick cookware...cast iron is non-stick when properly seasoned, and tin-lined copper pretty much is, too. And my kitchen is a nuke-free zone. I do still use a plastic flexi cutting board when I chop veggies for juicing, as there is little or no chance for chemical leaching and the cutting "board" makes a great funnel to get the veggies down the throat of my Champion juicer...I know, I know...Champion juicer parts=plastic. It's nylon, and contains neither of the above mentioned badnesses. You might note that Cuisinart food processors have switched from polycarbonate workbowls to Lexan as well. How much of these things get into our food, and under what conditions, is still under study.
To clarify, not all plastics contain the "badness" you mention. If you avoid the plastics with the recycling numbers 3, 6, and 7 (the latter of which includes polycarbonate plastics) that possibly could have adverse health effects, you're off to a good start in avoiding both phthalates and bisphenol A.

Polypropylene (5) storage containers have had no bad press.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:16 PM   #23
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Correctomundo...thank you for the good information. The sky may not be falling after all.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:44 PM   #24
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I should have added that those recycling numbers are found on the bottom of the plastic item.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:58 PM   #25
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Microwaves are perfectly safe if (1) you always operate them with the door closed and (2) you take off your tinfoil hat.
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Old 04-24-2009, 02:25 PM   #26
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i use above-listed items. my school does, too, & they're way into ServSafe. although at school we have 3-compartment sinks with sanitizer in the kitchens.
except microwaves.
don't own one. not for health reasons, thoguh! microwaves aren't unsanitary!
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Old 04-24-2009, 03:38 PM   #27
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well ,I'm a gadget freak and I LOVE all my toys in my kitchen , also I recyle and keep the kitchen very clean and thank God for the dishwasher !!!! I don't worry to much about that ,but what I do worry is.. about what your putting in your month is a little scary.
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Old 04-24-2009, 04:48 PM   #28
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In our Food Safe, which I believe is comparable to the America Serve Safe, they teach that ONLY plastic cutting boards should be used AND they should be colour coded for safety as well as scrubbed and put through a dishwasher/sanitizer
Red - Red Meat/Pork
Yellow - Poultry
Blue - Fish
Green - Produce
White - Bread Products

Now, I don't think every home is expected to have all these, but anyone cooking for the public, whether a restaurant, catering business, etc. should go by these rules. I do with my business and have never had any problems with bacteria or other problems. At camp it was very strict that we stick to this system and that we washed/sanitized our own boards not did not leave them for the dishwashing staff as they may not do them correctly.

As for microwaves, this has been an issue/non-issue back and forth for years. I do use one but mostly for heating items. I prefer to defrost using the cold running water method (or better yet leaving it in the fridge to thaw) and to cook on the stove or in the regular oven.

Gadgets are a personal preference. I own a book that has 300 recipes for my KE stand mixer and another called "Baking Unplugged" which uses only whisks and wooden spoons. I love them both for different reasons.

This is a subject that could be debated back and forth forever and still not come out with a clear answer.
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Old 04-24-2009, 06:51 PM   #29
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I've never seen any evidence that microwave ovens are unsafe. There was an urban legend floating around years ago about plastic dishes & wrap being dangerous when microwaved but Snopes has methodically debunked it. Teflon pans probably do deserve the bad press, though- when overheated they emit gasses poisonous enough to kill birds, and a study found some of the molecules of the coating in the livers of polar bears (and 95% of all living beings tested had them in their cells).

The problem with plastics if probably more aesthetics than safety. Aside from a few isolated cases of some types of plastics affecting people it's more an issue of the world being overrun by cheap, flimsy worthless crap. Dollar stores must sell zillions of dollars worth of this worthless junk per year, and I can't help but think the bulk of it breaks after a few uses and goes right into a landfill.
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Old 04-24-2009, 07:31 PM   #30
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Interesting discussion, and thanks to all of you for your useful information. What the OP seems to overlook (and she is new to the group), is that no one who is here for long EVER makes such judgmental statements, which seem to imply that everyone who disagrees with her is just wrong, wrong wrong. One of the attractions of DC is what I like to call a "culture of kindness." There is room for many different opinions here and DC members are uncommonly tolerant of diversities in opinion. Wonder why the OP has not come back to defend her assertions?
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