How your TV dinner could kill you

Remember those old TV dinners in the old days... those metal trays that you'd take right from the oven to the couch, in front of an episode of your favorite show?

Well, they don't really call them "TV dinners" anymore, but you can still find plenty of those frozen dinners that are supposedly quick, convenient, and portable.

But what they can do to you after you zap them in the microwave is anything but convenient.

Science shows that anything plastic you nuke in the microwave -- whether it's the new-fangled plastic tray in those ready-made meals or the plastic wrap that covers them -- may come out of there with a few extra ingredients you weren't counting on.


Plastics labeled "microwave safe" may not melt when you zap them, but they're anything but safe for you: The bisphenol-A (BPA) and chemical phthalates they contain may be released into your food.

They certainly don't enhance the flavor... and, often referred to as endocrine disruptors, they monkey with your body's entire hormonal system.

BPA can mimic estrogen... and phthalates block testosterone... and both of those are bad news for guys and gals.

We've heard lots about BPA over the years, as it's been linked to everything from fertility issues to breast cancer. It's so dangerous that it was permanently banned from being used in baby bottles by the FDA in 2012.

And while you may be tempted to switch to those "BPA-free" containers so your food can be ready to eat in 60 seconds flat, don't bother. The "BPS" that replaced BPA isn't any safer.

In fact, it might be even worse.

These chemicals have no business being used anywhere near food... or your mouth.

I know it can be hard to find the time to cook a fresh meal, especially when you've got leftovers sitting in the fridge... you're passing the Drive-Thru on the way home... or getting a hot dinner delivered to your door is just a phone call away. (Remember: fast food can be chock full of phthalates from the containers it's stored in, or even from the plastic gloves the workers use when they prepare it!)

Fortunately, you don't have to prepare a gourmet FEAST every day. But you can do a little advance planning that will keep you from getting more than you bargained for in your meals.

Try, for instance, setting a weekly "prep day" to slice your veggies and marinate your meats... just remember to store them in glass containers until you're ready to cook.

And if you end up with leftovers, you can reheat them on the stovetop or zap them in a glass or ceramic bowl. Just be careful when picking them up, because they can get pretty hot inside the microwave, even after a short cooking time.