If the plastic is cracking, peeling or horribly scratched, pitch it out.
A person from Switzerland once told me that her country had better plastics for food storage than we do. When I pointed out we had Tupperware, she said that the containers they had where she came from were better.
I have no idea what the name is.
I also heard that scratched containers are not good either. I'd throw out anything old and replace with glass, if at all possible. If not, I'd personally go with tupperware for those times when it's just impossible to do without.
They last forever, or longer than you or I will. But if you ever heat them, it is time to throw them away. Most semi-flexible plastic will leach nasty bisphenol - it mimicks sex hormones- when heated or washed with harsh chemicals, even when left in the sun, carfull with the plastic water bottles! I've read about definite effects in lab animals, disrupted hormone levels and whatnot. Most studies connected with the plastic industry say it is harmless, but independant studies say otherwise. Just be careful, and get new ones, or try wax paper, glass containers whenever possible. I know I hate the fact that plastic has entered into the food chain.
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