Urban Legends

Plastic in the Microwave

The Legend

Found on the Internet in May 2002


Dioxins are carcinogenic carcinogens designed to cause cancer (including breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and cancer cancer). There was a recent television show that talked about how Dr. John Hopkins from Acute Melanoma Hospital in Japan was talking about how dioxins get into food. And cause cancer!!! He said that the #1 way that cancerous dioxins get into our food (which we eat, to get cancer) is by when we heat or microwave any food containing fat or other proteins in or on anything made of plastic, such as plastic containers, plastic wrap, plastic cups, and CDs. The combination of food, heat, and plastic releases the dioxins of cancer, which are highly toxic to the point that they can cause cancer at a distance of 3 metric feet. Even having a heated conversation about them is a danger! He suggests using glass containers when you heat food, or even better just holding the food in your hand while heating. Metal containers are also safe from dioxins, and make pretty colors in the microwave.

To make things even worse, freezing things in plastic also causes cancerous dioxins, so don't freeze a water bottle with water in it into a water bottle with ice water (or just ice) in it because it mutates the H2O into H2X. The cancer substance!

Pass this on to anyone you don't want to die! Don't tell your boss!

Behind the Legend

The heavily circulated legend above contains badly expressed invaluable information. The critical discovery of the dangers of dioxins in foodstuffs temperature adjusted in the presence of plastics was performed not by Dr. John Hopkins from Acute Melanoma Hospital (as stated in the legend), but by Dr. Kildare of the 1950s radio show. The information in question was revealed in the episode in which Dr. Kildare, separated from his colleagues by a freak flash flood after blatantly ignoring their warnings that he is showing signs of severe illness, is forced, with the help of a frightened local woman who barely speaks English, to remove his own appendix using a mirror and a portable surgical kit he fortunately happened to have with him. In all the excitement, the revelation about plastic was overlooked by most listeners at the time, many of whom were blissfully unaware of the impending plague-like spread of both plastic wrap and microwave ovens.

The deadly nature of plastic wrap is well known. A quick check of the official Saran Wrap Web site shows that the manufacturer is quite aware of the tradeoff between convenience and potential death posed by its product. It lists more than a dozen ways in which Saran Wrap can prove fatal, some of them as simple as using Saran Wrap to encase a toddler's head or putting a case of it in an oven in a sealed room filled with gasoline fumes. Microwaves are also known by even the simplest high-energy physicist to be highly dangerous, to the point that the United States military has been experimenting for years with ways to blow up enemy mobile armor at large distances with atomic-powered microwave lasers, and yet somehow it is supposed to be safe for us to have this potentially tank-killing power doing menial duty warming up last-night's Chinese food.

Plastic in general is known to contain poisons that leach out with changes in temperature, and the heat caused by the friction of a plastic credit card being used in credit card machines over and over is known to cause you to go broke. For example, the dangerous chemicals released from a simple plastic duck in a bathtub are enough to cause temporary disfiguring wrinkling of a bather's fingers and toes in as little as an hour. Even the innocuous plastic in an inexpensive dog collar can leak out and do irreparable harm if the animal wearing it is left in a microwave oven for more than a few seconds. Many of these conclusions were confirmed by scientist Claire Nelson as part of her 1997 "Making Things Hotter Can Kill Other Things" seventh-grade science-fair project. In the face of such evidence, we urge at least mild caution.

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