Health Advice



To zap or not to zap

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

The dictionary's list of synonyms for "zap" includes "bang," "clobber," "wallop" and about two dozen other words that miss the high-tech, ray-emitting connotation of zapping your food in a microwave -- the most common use of the word, we bet.

Around $117.6 billion is projected to be spent on frozen microwavable foods in 2025. That's a lot of plastic trays! And that brings up a question: What's the cumulative effect, year after year, of eating zapped food that's packaged in plastic?

We know some facts: Bisphenol-A (BPA) is put into plastics to make them clear and hard; phthalates are added to make them soft and flexible. Both are hormone disruptors, and they can migrate into food. High-fat foods like meats, cheeses and rich sauces are particularly good receptors for them.

Plastics approved by the Food and Drug Administration that are labeled "microwave safe" have been tested, and the maximum allowable amount of migration of those chemicals is far less per pound of body weight than the amount shown to harm laboratory animals over a lifetime of use. That said, it doesn't definitively address what happens over a person's longer life span if they're exposed to zapping and eating and zapping and eating.

Don't let plastic wrap touch food when microwaving; don't microwave plastic storage bags, plastic bags from the grocery, takeout containers or plastic tubs that hold yogurt, sauces or condiments. Bottom line: Glass, parchment and white paper towels may be safer to zap. So transfer food from its plastic container before microwaving.



Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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