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Are plastic blenders safe?

Blenders are a kitchen staple used for blending and pureeing foods. With plastic being a convenient and affordable material, most blenders on the market today are made primarily of plastic. However, there has been some controversy over whether using plastic blenders is safe, especially when blending hot liquids. This article examines the safety concerns around plastic blenders and provides tips for safe usage.

Heating plastics releases chemicals

One of the main concerns with plastic blenders is that heating them can potentially release harmful chemicals into blended foods and drinks. When plastics are heated, chemicals within the plastic known as plasticizers, as well as other additives, can migrate into food and liquids. Studies have found chemicals like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates being released from plastics during blending of hot foods.

BPA and phthalates are endocrine disruptors, meaning they can interfere with hormone systems in the body. Research has linked BPA exposure to health effects like developmental and reproductive issues, increased cancer risk, and heart disease. Phthalates have been associated with reproductive toxicity, obesity, and other adverse health outcomes.

Chemical Health Concerns
Bisphenol A (BPA) Developmental & reproductive toxicity, increased cancer risk, heart disease
Phthalates Reproductive toxicity, obesity, asthma

Heating plastics can increase the rate of chemical leakage into food. The hotter the liquid, the more chemicals are released. Blending boiling liquids is especially concerning.

Tips for safe usage of plastic blenders

While the potential for chemical exposure from plastic blenders exists, there are ways to use them more safely:

  • Don’t blend extremely hot liquids – Allow hot liquids to cool down first before blending.
  • Don’t blend for extended periods – Blend only as long as needed, don’t leave blender running unnecessarily.
  • Hand wash with mild detergent – Harsh dish soaps can degrade plastic and increase chemical leaching.
  • Replace old blenders – Chemicals leak more from old, scratched plastic.
  • Use BPA-free models – Choose blenders labeled BPA-free, though other chemicals may still be present.
  • Try stainless steel or glass – These materials don’t have risks associated with plastics.

Factors that increase chemical leaching

Certain factors can cause more chemicals to be released from plastic blenders during use:

  • Heat – Hotter liquids cause more chemical migration.
  • Blending time – Longer durations of blending.
  • Plastic type -Lower grade plastic polymers release more chemicals.
  • Age and wear – Old, cracked plastic releases more chemicals.
  • Harsh detergents – Can degrade plastic over time.
  • Acidic foods – Acids interact with plastic molecules.

Being aware of these factors allow you to make adjustments to reduce exposure when using a plastic blender.

Are “BPA-free” plastics safe?

“BPA-free” is a common label touted on plastic food containers and blenders today. This means the plastic does not contain bisphenol A. However, experts warn this doesn’t necessarily mean these plastics are free of all concerning chemicals.

Manufacturers often replace BPA with similar chemicals like bisphenol S (BPS) or bisphenol F (BPF). But these also exhibit hormone-disrupting effects. Other additives like phthalates may also still be present.

A 2014 study tested BPA-free plastic bottled waters and found they released chemicals having estrogenic activity even though they didn’t leach BPA. Studies have found similar results for BPA-free plastics used for blenders and food containers.

The takeaway is BPA-free plastic blenders are likely safer than those containing BPA. But some risks from plasticizer chemicals may remain since the replacements also have concerning health effects.

Glass or stainless steel – Safest blender materials

To avoid any concerns with plastic altogether, glass and stainless steel are generally considered the safest blender materials.

Material Safety Advantages Disadvantages
Glass – Inert, no chemical leaching
– Heat resistant
– Easy to clean
– Heavy
-Can break
Stainless Steel – No chemical leaching
– Durable
– Withstands heat
– Can affect taste
-Shows spots and stains

Glass and stainless steel do not carry risks of releasing harmful chemicals. Glass is inert non-porous, and won’t transfer flavors or chemicals. Stainless steel is also non-porous and won’t leach chemicals with heat.

The main drawback of glass is it can break. Stainless steel can sometimes impart a metallic taste. But both materials provide good options for safely blending hot liquids and acidic foods.

Are cheap plastic blenders more risky?

Lower grade plastics that go into cheap blenders are generally considered more risky when it comes to chemical exposure. Cheaper plastics often have poorer polymer quality and more additives like plasticizers.

Studies back this up. One analysis found plastic blenders made from polystyrene released the most overall chemicals compared to other plastics when used to blend boiling water. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, common in low-cost blenders, also released concerning levels of BPA.

Low cost blenders also tend to be lower quality designs. Their blades may be less efficient at crushing and blending, meaning you run them longer. This increased wear and tear and extended blending time allows greater chemical leaching.

For the safest plastic blender choose a higher grade design made from tritan plastic or polypropylene, and limit blending time for hot liquids. Quality blenders that heat and blend efficiently are less risky.

High power blenders

High powered blenders have fast, efficient motors and blades that generate friction heat and blend more quickly. Does this increase the risk of plastic chemical leaching compared to lower power models?

High power can transfer more heat to the blender material. However, because blending time is much faster, there may be less opportunity for heat-induced chemical migration before blending is complete.

One study did find more overall chemical migration from a high power blender compared to a low power model. But when only BPA was considered, the high power blender released less.

Powerful blenders also tend to use higher grade plastic components. This likely offsets some of the risks. Limiting blending time can further reduce any risks.

Can you microwave plastic blenders?

No, microwaving plastic blender pitchers or cups is not recommended. The microwave subjects plastics to intense heat, which can greatly increase the amount of chemicals that migrate into food.

One study looked at microwaving plasticware and found significant leaching of phthalates and BPA. Microwaving increased leaching levels 15-55 times compared to food that hadn’t been microwaved in plastic.

Never put any plastic blender components in the microwave. Microwaving any plastics for food should be avoided.

Reducing exposure from plastic blenders

Based on the risks, here are some tips to minimize chemical exposure when using plastic blenders:

  • Allow hot liquids to cool before blending.
  • Blend on high speed to reduce heating time.
  • Avoid extended blending periods.
  • Don’t blend boiling liquids.
  • Don’t microwave plastic blender parts.
  • Clean with mild detergents, avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Replace old, scratched, or cracked blenders.
  • Choose higher quality BPA-free blenders.
  • Consider stainless steel or glass models.

Being mindful of factors that increase chemical leaching, and following safe usage tips, can reduce your risk when using a plastic blender. However, glass or stainless steel blenders remain the safest options.


Heating and blending in plastic blenders runs the risk of chemical exposure through release of compounds like BPA and phthalates. While plastic blenders offer convenience, glass and stainless steel are the safest choices, especially when handling hot liquids. When using plastic, allow hot liquids to cool first, blend quickly, avoid extended runs, and don’t microwave. Higher grade BPA-free models are less risky if you do opt for plastic. Following precautions allows you to balance safety and functionality when blending foods in plastic blenders.