One trend I’ve never adopted is putting a slow cooker bag inside of a slow cooker.
Because it’s one of the last things I want to do.
We have enough environmental toxins to contend with. In our food, air and water.
Why add another?
Heated plastic is not stable. Despite the fact some of these bags are advertised as being BPA free.
The acronym BPA stands for bisphenol A. This is a hormone disruptor that’s often found in plastic.
Good that they removed THIS chemical.
But what about all the others?
Do we know each and every compound found in these plastic liners is safe? Are these chemicals safe when heated? Each and every one of them? Do these liners leach?
Do we really need slow cook liners in the first place?
I’ve never used them. I never plan to. I guess the idea is to make cleanup easier.
But are you trading safety for a little bit of convenience?
I don’t have the definitive answer.
However, intuitively, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to heat your food in plastic. Which is what you’re doing if you use these liners.
But are the plastic liners really unsafe? What do we know about them?
Are Slow Cook Liner Bags Safe?
Surprisingly, we know very little about these bags. I was unable to find any studies specifically looking at whether chemicals are leached from these bags.
The studies may be out there. But I was unable to find them.
So I can’t point you to a study that says they’re safe. Nor can I direct you to one that determines they’re risk free.
Be aware of this when making decisions that can affect your family’s health.
The best I can do is present information on food and plastic, in general.
And I’m going to cite mainstream health sources. If they’re concerned, that means we should be too.
Mainstream medicine is much less concerned with toxin exposure, compared to holistic medicine, which advocates avoiding household toxins altogether. For instance, many holistic health experts recommend plant-based formulas for personal care and cleaning supplies. Regular doctors rarely mention not using chemical-based cleaning formulas, which contain hormone disrupting compounds.
Do Slow Cooker Bags Leach Plastic?
On its website, Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School published an article on microwaving food in plastic. (Whether or not microwaves are good to use period is another debate for another time.)
This article noted that plastic is an umbrella term that encompasses different materials and manufacturing processes.
It singled out BPA and a class of compounds known as phthalates as being worthy of concern. Both can disrupt the hormones.
At high temperatures, these chemicals may leach into your food, according to the article.
“The FDA long ago recognized the potential for small amounts of plasticizers to migrate into food,” it noted.
I also need to point out that this Harvard Medical School article did not mention plastic bag liners. But with so little information available, I thought this was the next best thing.
Are Plastic Crock Pot Liners Dangerous?
Also, here’s what the very mainstream site WebMD has to say about food and plastics.
“It’s long been known that infinitesimal bits of plastic get into our food from containers,” WebMD wrote. The process is called “leaching” or “migration.”
“The amounts are small,” noted Laura Vandenberg, PhD, the researcher cited by WebMD. But, she added, “But almost any plastic container can be expected to leach trace amounts of plastics into food.”
It’s a well known fact that heating food in plastic can facilitate the transfer of chemicals. However, no one seems to know how many chemicals we then consume.
Are Slow Cook Liner Bags Dangerous?
I cannot tell you that cooking liner bags are dangerous. Because I can’t point to a study to prove it.
All I can do is share my personal opinion. I’m not a medical professional. I have no scientific background.
I’m just a wife and mother trying to keep a nontoxic kitchen.
One in which I see no need for bringing liner bags into. Considering how much plastic is already used in the food industry.
We also know that some amount of leaching occurs. Heating seems to increase the amount.
This is a personal decision for me. I’ve decided plastic liner bags are not worth the potential risk. Even if they’re risky I don’t want the worry.
Also, One of the slow cookers I use is made from clay. The clay pot pops out and it’s really easy to clean.
There’s also an Instant Pot in my kitchen. We just got it recently. I don’t know if you can use plastic liners in an Instant Pot. But, even if you can, I don’t think it would make it any easier to clean the lid. This is the part that’s the hardest to clean.
Actually, the silicone ring inside the lid is the reason I’m not a huge fan of Instant Pots. The pot was given to us as a gift. I wouldn’t have bought it on my own. Other family members use it. I still don’t know how to operate it, and have little interest in using it.
I’ve also decided to wait until we have good studies showing that silicone heated at high temperatures is safe, and poses no risk if you eat food cooked in it.
You can also find liner bags made from silicone instead of plastic/nylon, which, if forced to use, I would choose silicone.
But I’m still waiting.
In the end, everyone else has to make their own decision whether or not to use plastic slow cook bags.
Based upon what we know. And what we don’t know.
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