The dictionary's list of synonyms for "zap" includes "bang," "clobber," "wallop," and about two dozen other words that miss the ray-emitting connotation of zapping your food in a microwave — the most common use of the word, we bet.
Around $117.6 billion is projected to be spent on frozen microwavable foods in 2025. That's a lot of plastic trays.
And that brings up a question: What's the cumulative effect, year after year, of eating zapped food that's packaged in plastic?
We know some facts: Bisphenol-A (BPA) is put into plastics to make them clear and hard; phthalates are added to make them soft and flexible. Both are hormone disruptors, and they can migrate into food. High-fat foods like meats, cheeses, and rich sauces are particularly good receptors for them.
Plastics approved by the Food and Drug Administration that are labeled "microwave safe" have been tested, and the maximum allowable amount of migration of those chemicals is far less per pound of body weight than the amount shown to harm laboratory animals over a lifetime of use.
That said, it doesn't definitively address what happens over a person's longer life span if they're exposed to zapping and eating and zapping and eating.
Don't let plastic wrap touch food when microwaving; don't microwave plastic storage bags, plastic bags from the grocery, takeout containers, or plastic tubs that hold yogurt, sauces, or condiments.
The bottom line: Glass, parchment, and white paper towels may be safer to zap.
Transfer food from its plastic container before microwaving.