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Q & A - Are Oven Bags Safe?

Oven roasting bags are made with polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a type of plastic usually considered safe to use for food and water. But, a 2007 study that included PET roasting bags and ready-made products in PET baking dishes found that half of the products prepared at a temperature of 356°F exceeded the specific migration limit of chemicals set for food contact material by the European Commission.

And according to a 2011 study, all types of plastic, including PET, will leach endocrine disrupters like antimony into food and water. Antimony is also a possible carcinogen and developmental, cardiovascular, and reproductive toxin.

Phthalates, endocrine disrupters linked to diabetes, infertility, obesity, allergies and asthma also leach from PET plastic. A2015 study found two types of phthalates, diisobutyl phthalate and dibutyl phthalate, migrated from roasting bags to spices and roasted meat. The highest concentrations of phthalates were found in the spices used to cook the chicken meat.

A few studies have also found that the plastic components that make up PET (like ethylene glycol, a component of anti-freeze) leach from roasting bags into the fatty parts of turkey.

Breastcancer.org recommends that women don't use roasting/steaming bags because the plastic residues may leach into food when heated in a regular or microwave oven. Bottom line – oven bags are made of plastic. And any type of plastic will release toxic chemicals when heated.