Should I hold my toungue or speak up

  1. I am not sure what forum this really belongs in so staff can certainly feel free to move it.

    My psych insturctor for next quarter just sent me an email (I am a caregiver for daughter who has downs sysdrome a few hours a week) and it is an internet hoax. "dont put plastic in the microwave or plastic water bottles in the freezer because they will release dioxins--From John Hopkins" she wants us to help make sure her daughter does not do this. (she does now)

    Now, (as i learned in prior psych classes) psych is supposed to be a real hard science, research and use your critical thinking skills to evaluate and form an opinion. So my dilimma is -- do I politeley point this out to her that this is a hoax, expecting to get a pat on the pack for good research skills, or will she think I am a smarta** and this may cause me problems in class?

    I am leaning towards keeping my mouth shut (hard for me) I mean there is no harm done to her by not doing this. It's just an inconvenience really. So the issue is not one of having to advocate for what is best for the client or I would already have done it.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   llg
    I would very politely ask where she got the information, explaining that you had heard that, too, but had also heard that it was not really true and was just a hoax. Say that you would like to see the actual article or whatever as a learning experience and so that you could give the correct information (and the citation) to your friends. If you are polite about it, she should not mind.

    llg
  4. by   Freedom42
    You might want to show your instructor what the Food and Drug Administration says about this issue on its website.

    The FDA says it knows of no evidence that plastic food containers carry dioxin. But it also says it's true that other substances used to make those containers leach into food. The FDA says it's not a risk. But then again, I think of all the substances that weren't considered risks years ago but are now causing concern (flame retardants and Teflon, for example).

    Certainly your instructor should have thought to confirm the matter before passing it on. But like many of these Internet rumors, this one might have begun with a kernel of truth -- and grown into a mass of misinformation.
  5. by   Balder_LPN
    Quote from Freedom42
    You might want to show your instructor what the Food and Drug Administration says about this issue on its website.

    The FDA says it knows of no evidence that plastic food containers carry dioxin. But it also says it's true that other substances used to make those containers leach into food. The FDA says it's not a risk. But then again, I think of all the substances that weren't considered risks years ago but are now causing concern (flame retardants and Teflon, for example).

    Certainly your instructor should have thought to confirm the matter before passing it on. But like many of these Internet rumors, this one might have begun with a kernel of truth -- and grown into a mass of misinformation.
    yes the grain of truth is that if you apply flame and burn plastics some dioxins are created. This rumour went around so much John Hopkins has a webpage refuting it too.
  6. by   rn/writer
    Now, (as i learned in prior psych classes) psych is supposed to be a real hard science, research and use your critical thinking skills to evaluate and form an opinion.
    I don't mean to make light of your dilemma, but I had to laugh when I read this. I was a psych nurse for years and it is about as inexact a "science" as you will ever run across. There are those in academia who do not consider psych a legitimate discipline because ethical concerns (messing with people's minds) and subjective evaluation (as opposed to objective data--lab tests, CT, MRI, etc.) make research such muddle.

    At any rate, if you have access to websites that cite reliable information regarding this misinformation, by all means, share it in the way a previous poster suggested. "I thought this was a danger too, until I found these contradictory reports." Be sure that you tell her you will do whatever she wants, so she knows you're not trying to undermine her authority. And then just go with whatever she decides.

    If you approach this like you're just sharing something you thought she would find interesting, the idea might seem less threatening. She's only trying to protect her kid and the more you project the idea that you're on her side, the better chance you have of letting her know she doesn't need to worry about this particular concern.

    One more thing. Think of her situation. She's the parent of a special needs child. There are so many things over which she has no control whatsoever. Sometimes it can be tempting to latch on to a concern where you feel a little bit empowered. "I may not be able to change my daughter's mental capacity, but, doggone it, I can keep her from getting poisoned by her microwave meat loaf."

    You sound like a caring and concerned person. Let us know what happens.
  7. by   firstyearstudent
    I would tell the instructor that you looked it up and this particular email is a hoax. But I would also say that many people remain concerned abut the use of plastics in the microwave and that you understand that she wants to use the safest materials available for her child and that you will make sure to heat her daughter's food in whatever she thinks is best.

    I know that some of these plastics are approved for use in the microwave, but personally, I don't trust them. I never heat my children's food in anything but pyrex glass. I have often smelled chemicals after using microwave safe plastics and I prefer to take the few moments to transfer the food. Better safe than sorry. The technology is still relatively new. I do not trust the FDA and I certainly don't trust plastics manufacturers.
  8. by   Freedom42
    It's also interesting to see what Johns Hopkins has to say about the matter.

    While the school does say that it was not the source of these Internet rumors, a school spokesman stops far short of saying you shouldn't worry about chemicals leaching out of plastics into your food. (He does say there's no need to worry about freezing plastic water bottles.) He says more research is needed.
  9. by   Balder_LPN
    Quote from Freedom42
    It's also interesting to see what Johns Hopkins has to say about the matter.

    While the school does say that it was not the source of these Internet rumors, a school spokesman stops far short of saying you shouldn't worry about chemicals leaching out of plastics into your food. (He does say there's no need to worry about freezing plastic water bottles.) He says more research is needed.
    Yeah, thats what academics always say.

    Thanks for the input guy's I appreciate it.
  10. by   CHATSDALE
    i know that certain plastic containers are marked 'microwave safe' or 'do not use in microwave' ditto for dishwasher safe etc

    i had thought that this was for the protection [and possible reuse] of the container...
  11. by   bargainhound
    You can do a search on www.mercola.com
    and read quite a lot of factual info on plastics.
  12. by   anc33
    I just had to pipe up here for a sec. I am working on my MPH and I have heard quite a bit on this topic in environmental health classes

    No, you are not going to be exposed to dioxins through the heating of plastics. 90% of dioxin exposure is through contaminated food sources (mostly fish). However heating and volatilizing plastics not meant for microwave use (like old margarine or yogurt containers) can lead to the release of pthalates, bisphenols, etc. into your food. You might not have any health effects from this, but then again, if it does not say "microwave safe" why chance it?
  13. by   oramar
    Oh my gosh we have that article hanging in our break room over the micro oven. So it is a hoax is it.

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