Having melted plastic in oven is one of the hazards that can accidentally occur in the kitchen since most of the packaging materials used for our foods are plastic. Unfortunately, some of us don’t know the danger of having melted plastic in oven; some people do not even take the time to remove any melted plastic residue from their ovens, they simply continue using their ovens for meal preparations. In this article, I’ll be discussing the dangers of having melted plastic in oven and what to do when plastic melts in your oven or food.
Is Melted Plastic in Oven Dangerous?
Yes, melted plastic in oven is dangerous as there are different types of harmful chemicals in plastics, some of which are carcinogenic. Melted plastic in oven can be very harmful, irritating your skin and eyes. Apart from the risk of choking from the fumes, these melted plastics can leech or drip into your food and you can ingest them without unknowingly. This may cause life-threatening health problems.
Is Melted Plastic Toxic?
Yes, melted plastic contains toxic chemicals. Normally, all plastics are composed of large molecules which break down into smaller ones in form of fumes, when melted. These fumes, known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are very dangerous and can be very harmful when inhaled. Immediate effects of exposure to these volatile organic compounds include;
- Severe irritation of the eyes.
- Irritation of the skin.
- Severe irritation of the nose and lungs.
Prolonged exposure to fumes of any synthetic plastic with no safety gear or safety measures can cause cancer, respiratory diseases, birth defects, and other chronic illnesses.
Is It Safe to Use Oven After Melting Plastic?
Yes, it is safe to use the oven after melting plastic. However, you can only use the oven when you have thoroughly cleaned and removed any remaining melted plastic residue. Also, ensure that you open all your kitchen windows and doors and ventilate the house to get rid of any lingering melted plastic smell.
Can Melted Plastic Fumes Be Harmful?
Yes, melted plastic fumes can be harmful. Plastics release carcinogenic gases when burnt or melted. Exposure to those fumes (especially for a long time) may lead to respiratory problems and other illnesses.
The smell of burnt or melted plastic can linger behind and spread to other areas of the home, irritating people’s (especially babies) lungs and exposing them to toxins that could harm their health.
What Do You Do If You Accidentally Melt Plastic in The Oven?
If you accidentally melt plastic in the oven, you should completely remove the melted plastic before using the oven to cook or bake again. Failure to do that can cause the emission of dangerous gases, heavy smoke, and tainting of your food with the unpleasant melted plastic smell.
How To Remove Melted Plastic From Oven
The method you employ to remove melted plastic from oven depends on the type of oven you use. For a gas oven, you should use the cold process while you use the hot process for a self-cleaning oven.
Tips for removing melted plastic from gas oven
- Remove the racks.
- Put some ice or ice bags in the oven over the melted plastic.
- Allow the ice to sit on the plastic until the ice melts, getting the plastic hard.
- With the aid of a scraper, pry the brittle hardened plastic off the inside of your oven.
- Clean out the inside of your oven with detergent and a scrubbing pad.
- Give the oven a test run on high to make sure that there is no plastic residue left.
Tips for removing melted plastic from a self-cleaning oven
- Open the windows and turn on the fan for ventilation.
- Remove the racks.
- Turn on the oven and set to the lowest heat setting.
- Check the plastic carefully; when it is all mushy and pliable, turn off the oven so you don’t get burnt.
- Carefully, scrape off the melted plastic with a wooden spoon.
- After scraping off all the plastic, run the cleaning cycle.
Although a self-cleaning oven will burn off the resin left from plastic, large pieces of plastic need to be removed manually. This is why you need to first scrape off as much plastic as possible before you run the oven through a cleaning cycle.
Accidentally Cooked Plastic with Food? What to Do
Since many chemicals in plastic could be harmful and, in some cases, even fatal if ingested, it would be better if you discard any food with melted plastic in it.
Read also: What Is Beau Monde Seasoning Used For?
Accidentally Burned Plastic on Stove? What to Do
If you accidentally burned plastic on the stove, you will need to remove the melted plastic from your burner before further use. For small amounts of melted plastic, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar will do the trick. First, you heat the burner slightly, then put some baking soda on the melted plastic spot and add vinegar in drops until you have a paste. After that, scrub with a nylon scrubber.
For a large piece of melted plastic, you can use ice or WD-40 (a lubricant/grit remover). To use the ice method, put some ice or ice bag on the melted plastic spot to allow the plastic to become more brittle, then clean any residue with a nylon scrubber. To use WD-40, make sure your burner is cold. Put a bit of WD-40 and allow it to soak into the plastic. Then scrape the melted plastic with the razor blade until it is completely removed.
Not only is melted plastic in the oven dangerous, but it can also be quite stressful to remove. To prevent the hassle of removing melted plastic from the oven or dealing with health problems, it is best to avoid having melted plastic in your oven in the first place.
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I write about the intersection between evolutionary biology and food. I also talk about practical applications, sustainable agriculture, and general tasty things