burned plastic in my dishwasher - toxic?
By accident a plastic top dropped to the hot coil in my dishwasher and melted. The toxic smell was really terrible. I peeled it off but a little part of it stuck. I ran the diswasher again and it still stinks but not as bad. I had baby bottles and nipples in there which I think I will just trash. What about the rest of the dishes? How toxic is this?
I wouldn't imagine you are at any risk. If you were inhaling a copious amount of fumes from the burning plastic that is probably a small long term health risk. Ingesting any small bits of the plastic, which should not be much of a worry if you rewashed what was in the dishwasher when you had your melt down, is not a risk as it would simply pass through your digestive track and be eliminated in the usual manner.
The smell is probably the worst thing about this kind of event, and not because it's "toxic." Only that it smells awful. I wouldn't even worry about the baby bottles. Eating that burnt plastic would probably be harmless. Your dishwasher detergent is probably the most harmful substance in there, but it just washes out with the rinse water, and you don't have to worry about that either.
Try to get the plastic off the coil and just run it without the heated dry cycle until the coils are clean. The rest of the dishware and baby bottles are fine. Give them a handwash if you are worried, but there is no need. I used to avoid the heated dry cycle for this very reason. I also used to use a special dishwasher basket for baby bottle parts. If you can't get them off the coil, arrange for a service call. The smells are strong enough to cause headaches or kill pet birds, so be careful not to use the heated dry cycle until it is completely clean.
I finally found liberation when I bought a Bosch -- which does not have a heater coil. The water goes to nearly 180 degrees and drying is via evaporation. That alone is the reason I will buy a Bosch again. No more fear of burned plastic.
I know you posted this back in 07, but I had the same problem happen to me (with baby bottles and all). What did you end up doing? My dishes still stink and I have ran it so many times!!!!
The exact same thing just happened to me! I googled if this would be toxic and sure enough here I am. Thanks for everyone's posting to ease my mind on this!