The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 11-06-2000, 03:52 PM
broofrhythmdvl broofrhythmdvl is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
I was re-heating some pizza on a cookie sheet the other day, when I noticed a peculiar smell emanating from our oven. It turns out that a rogue refrigerator magnet had attached itself to the cookie sheet, and was now a molten mess. Sadly, the plastic had melted onto one of the racks and to the bottom of the oven. I was able to remove it and any plastic debris I could find from the oven after it cooled and solidified. But is my oven now toxic? Do I need to worry about trace amounts of plastic that I can't see? If I say, cook a Turkey for my relatives for the big Holiday, will I be poisoning them?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 11-06-2000, 04:54 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Burning plastics do emit gases which are not good for you. You already removed what you could. I would turn the oven on very high, until the plastic was completely burnt. Suck out the fumes with a fan while doing this. Don't wait until you cook a meal.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-06-2000, 05:03 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
The safe answer: YES, clean your oven, keeping in mind that the oven cleaner is probably more toxic than melted plastic and undercooked turkey combined.

What I personally think: No, scrape off any plastic from the oven rack, wipe it down & you'll be fine.

Melted plastic doesn't produce toxic fumes that I'm aware of, especially not from such a small mass as you are talking about. On the other foot, burning plastic can produce dioxin, a deadly poison. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is known to produce dioxin when burned, however not all plastics are evil in this way. Friendly plastics that contain the usual carbon, hydrogen & oxygen are safer than those that contain nitrogen (nylon) or chlorine (PVC). It's hard to say what any given piece of plastic is made from, but I would hazard to say that any plastic manufactured for use in microwaves should be toxin-free.

It should also be noted that plastic shouldn't be hated just because of the toxins it might generate when burned. Any carbon-based material produces hazardous byproducts under most combustion conditions, mostly due to incomplete combustion. Burning gasoline produces carbon monoxide, and burning methanol can produce formaldehyde.

I seriously doubt that the plastic dish you used was made from PVC. Have a nice turkey day!
__________________
Join Date: May 20, 1999
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Posts: 8,739
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-06-2000, 06:00 PM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
you can also use a torch to burn it off, this might be better and allow more complete combuston - but OTOH will expose you to the fumes more directly.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-06-2000, 08:02 PM
justwannano justwannano is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
I'm posting this a second time as the first one didn't seem to get through.

I worked in a plastics factory once. There is a definite odor. Could that be hazardous? I was never warned about it if it was.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-07-2000, 10:28 AM
handy handy is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Pacific Grove, Calif
Posts: 17,493
I got pretty dizzy breathing some plastic fumes. Your milage may vary. Best thing to do, call the people who made the plastic that melted. As for getting it out of your oven, perhaps put some ice on it & knock it off with a hammer?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-07-2000, 01:20 PM
CrankyAsAnOldMan CrankyAsAnOldMan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
This is anecdotal but related....

I was bored in my office and decided to destroy an expired credit card. I'd misplaced my scissors so I decided I'd just bend the card back and forth a couple of dozen times until it was so weakened I could tear it and/or the numbers would be unreadable. So there I was, bent over the card, bending it back and forth like a maniac, and suddenly it was like someone had shoved a knife through my skull. I thought I was going to black out. It was the fumes that were coming from the bent card and they nearly did me in. I couldn't believe it.

I always knew credit was bad for you....
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:35 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.