UPDATE: Good news! Tupperware now has a large selection of their products tagged as BPA-free and have updated their site with a statement about how they've switched to BPA-free materials. We still recommend skipping all Tupperware products made with #7 plastic though (see their most current plastics guide from 2012).
Tupperware is one of the most recognized names in food storage, which explains why we are consistently asked whether they use BPA in their products. There is no short, simple answer to this question, but Tupperware does provide some information to help us sort through their products.
As of today, Tupperware lists the Rock ‘N Serve™ and Vent ‘N Serve™ storage and microwave reheating containers as being made from polycarbonate, which uses bisphenol-a (BPA) as one if its main building blocks. The full list of products includes:
- Ice Prisms: Bowls, Pitcher & Tumbler Set
- Kitchen Duos
- Microwave Cooker – Oval
- Microwave Luncheon Plate
- Quick Chef Base
- Sheerly Elegant Line
- Tumbler Bouquet & Pitcher Set
And while they're careful to point out that “polycarbonate is NOT used in Tupperware baby bottles or toys,” they devote a whole section of their website to defending the use of BPA, even linking to the chemical industry's website singing the praises of the BPA.
Bisphenol-A has been an approved substance for use in food contact products for decades. Governmental regulatory agencies around the world, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada, the European Food Safety Agency, the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency and the Japanese Ministry for Health, Labor and Welfare have all approved the material. Over the last ten years, other scientists have raised concerns over the substance, including the amount which migrates out of the products during heating. These governmental agencies have reconfirmed the safety of the material during this period. Tupperware also has conducted migration studies of bisphenol-A from its products using independent testing laboratories, and found the migration levels to be within acceptable levels, as specified by the Governmental regulatory agencies.
On the strength of the repeated governmental scrutiny that polycarbonate has had, Tupperware continues to believe the material is safe. However, as Tupperware has the highest regard for the safety of the consumers of its products and the functionality of these products, it will continue to closely monitor this scientific debate and research the best materials for use in its products.
So while we're thrilled to see some straightforward answers for consumers, we're still hoping Tupperware will take a cue updated research findings and look for an alternative to polycarbonate.
P.S. If you can't afford to switch out your Tupperware for safer food storage options right now, be sure NOT to take their advice on microwaving:
Q: Is it safe to microwave in Tupperware® products?
A: Yes, Tupperware® products that are intended for use in the microwave, including products made from polycarbonate, are safe for such use.