Melted plastic in the oven, can I still eat food?

In this article, we will answer whether you can still eat food if you burnt plastic in the oven, and how to use plastic safely in the oven.

Melted plastic in the oven, can I still eat food?

You may and may not. It all depends on what amount of plastic was burned. If there is a lot of melted plastic, get rid of the food. However, it is never recommended to eat food that has been in contact with burnt plastic fumes for a considerable time or if the plastic has melted onto the food.

What to do if I burnt plastic in my oven by accident?

The first thing you might wanna do is immediately clean your oven to get rid of the plastic smell in the house because inhaling the plastic fumes can be dangerous. Below is explained all the cleaning techniques with respect to your oven type.

Cleaning of ovens

Regular electric oven

Place a bag or any other container over the ice to let it cool off. This will solidify the plastic and make it breakable. With the help of a spatula with a razor blade, clear out the brittle plastic. Be very careful because you don’t want to damage the oven interior.

Self-cleaning oven

Some ovens have this feature that allows them to clean the insides of the oven. Do the important settings to turn this feature on and then using a spatula, scrape off the melted plastic.

Gas oven

For a gas oven, you got to remove the plate at the bottom of your oven. To do this, search for the screws at the back of your oven. Loosen the screws and take the base panel out of the oven. If the panel fits right into your refrigerator, put it there to cool off to get breakable. If not, place the base plate elsewhere and put an ice bag over it.

Getting rid of the burnt smell of plastic

It is important to get rid of the burnt plastic fumes because inhaling these fume will cause serious damage to your brain and lungs. Here’s how you do it.

Identify the smell

Pay attention and start to notice the smell of when plastic has just started burning.

Ventilation

Once you have noticed that plastic is melting, turn off the oven immediately, remove the food from the oven, and let the oven stay open. You must not confine the plastic fumes in your oven. This also goes for your kitchen. This will take a while but you must open the windows and doors and let the air become fresh again.

Get rid of the smell

Even after ventilation, the house remains filled with a bad odor. To get rid of the odor, use deodorizers. If you do not have any, try using tea bags or white vinegar. Using an air freshener will not help get rid of the smell, it will merely conceal it for some time.

What type of plastic is oven-friendly?

CPET(Crystallized Polyethylene Terephthalate) is an oven-safe plastic and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures i.e from 0°C to 204°C. Trays and containers made up of this plastic can also go in the freezer and microwave and are dishwasher friendly. This plastic is recyclable.

Apart from the benefits, this oven-safe plastic is quite expensive and cannot be used if the oven temperature is higher than 204°C.

What is microwave friendly plastic?

If the plastic is microwave friendly, it does mean that it is safe to use for the oven because an oven has much higher temperatures than a microwave.

5-polypropylene is considered safe to withstand the microwave

  • Using containers made of 3 PVC, type 6 polystyrene and type 7 polycarbonate should never go in the microwave. 
  • Never use containers made of metal in the microwave.
  • Type 1 polyethylene terephthalate is sometimes safe to use when made heat resistant using certain chemicals.

What makes plastic unsafe to use?

Most of the plastics use BPS or BPA (Bisphenol S or A) as their building block. These chemical compounds are also present in the lining of canned foods and leeches into the food that is too acidic or spicy. When buying canned food, always look for BPA/BPS-free cans.

When exposed to high temperatures, these chemical compounds leech into the food, which can cause chest cancer, early puberty, and a PCOS-like condition that leads to infertility. When melted, this chemical can develop cancer-causing tendencies.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered whether you can still eat food if you burnt plastic in the oven, and how to use plastic safely in the oven.

References

https://www.ebpsupply.com/blog/oven-safe-disposable-takeout-containers#:~:text=Crystallized%20Polyethylene%20Terephthalate)

https://www.hunker.com/12003478/what-are-the-numbers-that-say-that-plastic-is-safe-to-use-in-the-microwave-oven

Sana Ameer

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.

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