Researchers attending the 96th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in April issued a warning to women about the safety of plastic packaging used to wrap or hold food and beverages. Compounds found in some plastic packages can leach out of the plastic during cooking and migrate into the food, potentially altering genes in breast tissue.

Two particular compounds called BPA (bisphenol A) and BPB (n-butyl benzyl phthalate) can be released when plastics are heated or microwaved, warned the AACR researchers. BPA and BPB are estrogens that have been shown to affect gene expression in the mammary glands of young female laboratory rats.

When it comes to plastic, what’s a lady to do then? Because there is no way for consumers to know which products contain BPA or BPB, government experts recommend taking these preventive steps:

  • Microwave foods or beverages in glass, ceramic or plastic containers that are advertised as being safe for microwave use.
  • Never re-use margarine tubs, take-out containers or other products designed for one-time use in the microwave.
  • If you do use plastic wrap in the microwave, make sure the plastic covering doesn’t touch the food during cooking.
  • Consider using glass baby bottles rather than the plastic varieties.