Microwaves – The Controversy

DBM COMMENTMicrowave cooking is a very controversial subject.  Many people have set out to debunk articles that warn the public on the dangers of microwaves.Read on and decide for yourself…..

1. Some sites state that unless you are standing constantly next to your microwave, there is no danger. 

Our concern is that even on a daily basis you are still being exposed to non-ionizing radiation – radiation which can change the position of atoms but is not strong enough to alter their structure, composition, or properties. Even though non-ionizing radiation is not strong enough to alter the structure of atoms, it is still able to cause physical alterations. A clear example of how non-ionizing radiation can harm you is the damage caused to your skin and eyes from the sun. When you use microwave cooking, you are exposing yourself to microwave radiation. 

2. “As long as your shield is intact, there is no danger.” 

How would we know if the shield is intact?    So, we hold by our opinion (and that opinion is supported by many “natural medicine” sites), that no one should use microwave ovens, especially if you are pregnant, have a baby/child in the kitchen, if you are already suffering from illness and disease or are already bombarded with more radiation than the average person.

Why?  Tissues directly exposed to microwaves are subject to the same deformities molecules go through and this can in turn cause you to experience “microwave sickness”.  Remember, it is not only microwave ovens that emit this kind of radiation.    Cell phone towers also emit this type of radiation. 

Unfortunately, radiation doesn’t go away over time, in fact, it just accumulates. Although we’ve conducted study after study concluding that no amount of radiation is safe, we don’t really know what all of this means in the long term.  We are currently bombarded with radiation from almost everything around us:

  • radio towers
  • televisions
  • cell phones
  • microwaves
  • computers
  • satellites
  • broadcast antennas
  • …. and so much more

People may experience any or all the following after being exposed to high levels of microwave radiation.

  • impaired cognition
  • nausea
  • vision problems
  • depression and irritability
  • weakened immune system
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • insomnia and / or sleep disturbances
  • frequent urination and extreme thirst

Robert O. Becker, author of The Body Electric stated on page 314 of his book:

It’s [Microwave sickness] first signs are low blood pressure and slow pulse. The later and most common manifestations are chronic excitation of the sympathetic nervous system [stress syndrome] and high blood pressure.

This phase also often includes headache, dizziness, eye pain, sleeplessness, irritability, anxiety, stomach pain, nervous tension, inability to concentrate, hair loss, plus an increased incidence of appendicitis, cataracts, reproductive problems, and cancer. The chronic symptoms are eventually succeeded by crisis of adrenal exhaustion and ischemic heart disease [the blockage of coronary arteries and heart attacks].”

In another book entitled Health Effects of Microwave Radiationauthor Dr. Lita Lee also expressed his concern over the use of microwaves. Dr. Lee observed that the symptoms listed above could be caused by certain observations shown below.

  • Lymphatic disorders were observed, leaving to decreased ability to prevent certain types of cancers
  • An elevated rate of cancer cell formation was observed in the blood
  • Increased rates of stomach and intestinal cancers were observed
  • Higher rates of digestive dirsorders and gradual breakdown of the systems of elimination were observed.

Additionally, it is said that the Russians banned the microwave. 
An article that does categorically state that the microwave was never banned is penned by The International Microwave Power Institute who assert that the author at that time in 2012 was in fact the President of the IMPIS’s.  He states that he was personally present at key events from 1969 to 1980 and at no time was there ever any mention of the ban on microwaves in Russia.  This got us thinking – we need to consider the source of this article. 

What you need to also consider is the following:

1 The Swiss Association of Dealers for Electro-apparatuses for Households and Industry complained quite loudly about the findings, which caused a court order to ban Hans Hertel from talking about his findings about the dangers of microwaved food to the public. In 1998, the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been a violation of Hertel’s rights in the 1993 decision, lifted the gag order and sentenced Switzerland to pay compensation of F 40,000. See “H.U.H. against Switzerland”

2 The World Foundation for Natural Science: “The Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking,” from Nexus Magazine

3 Health, Wealth & Happiness, “MICROWAVED FOOD: It’s Like Eating Nuclear Waste!.” http://www.relfe.com/microwave.html

4 Lubec, G. et al. (1989): Aminoacid Isomerisation and Microwave Exposure.  The Lancet, 2 (8676): 1392-93; and The World Foundation for Natural Science: “The Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking,” from Nexus Magazine; and “Healing with Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford, pg. 20.

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation and are on the low energy end of the energy spectrum, second to radio waves. The waves are generated by something called a magnetron – something found within every microwave oven.

Magnetrons produce an electromagnetic field with a microwave frequency of approximately 2,450 megaHertz (MGz), which is the equivalent to 2.4 gigaHertz (GHz). Microwaves produced within the microwave oven cause dialectric heating – they bounce around the inside of the oven and are absorbed by whatever is placed in the oven.

Don’t believe it?   View the scientific research linking microwaves to cancer, diabetes, and nutritional deficiency.

In order for something to heat in a microwave oven, water must be present within the substance. If water is not present, heating will not occur and it would remain cool. The reason for this is that water molecules within the food vibrate at an incredible speed, creating molecular friction which is responsible for the heating of the food.

The structure of the water molecules are torn apart and vigorously deformed. This is much different than any other method of cooking, as other methods such as convection ovens heat up food by transferring heat convectionally from the outside inward.

Other statements made in an effort to “allay our concerns” are that foods heated in plastic are not dangerous, yet Harvard Health Publications – Harvard medical School article “Microwaving food in plastic: Dangerous or not?” states:

Here are some things to keep in mind when using the microwave:

  • If you’re concerned about plastic wraps or containers in the microwave, transfer food to glass or ceramic containers labelled for use in microwave ovens.
  • Don’t let plastic wrap touch food during microwaving because it may melt. Wax paper, kitchen parchment paper, white paper towels, or a domed container that fits over a plate or bowl are better alternatives.
  • Most takeout containers, water bottles, and plastic tubs or jars made to hold margarine, yogurt, whipped topping, and foods such as cream cheese, mayonnaise, and mustard are not microwave-safe.
  • Microwavable takeout dinner trays are formulated for one-time use only and will say so on the package.
  • Old, scratched, or cracked containers, or those that have been microwaved many times, may leach out more plasticizers.
  • Don’t microwave plastic storage bags or plastic bags from the grocery store.
  • Before microwaving food, be sure to vent the container: leave the lid ajar, or lift the edge of the cover.”

Will scientists ever agree on this subject?  It is doubtful – there’s too much at stake financially.

But here is what we do know:

  • When any radiation waves resonate with a body part, the biological effect is intensified.  For example, microwave frequencies are very similar to the frequencies of your brain. The effects microwaves have on your brain are greater than those same waves on any other part of the body.
  • Although studies are done to view the effects of radiation, most of these studies are done for short exposure periods at higher intensities.  There is an immense shortage of studies using long exposure periods with low-level radiation.  More research simply needs to be done.
  • Radiation accumulates over time and NEVER goes away.
  • Due to the amount of radiation everyone is exposed to every day, it is difficult to conduct studies using control groups.  Radiation cannot really be controlled anymore due to the unavoidable invasion.

We simply don’t know the long-term effects of microwave radiation, so why risk it by watching your food cook in your microwave day after day and night after night.

Additional References

  1. The Harvard Medical School. Microwaving food in plastic: dangerous of not? Family Health Guide. 2006 July.
  2. Katherine Zeratsky RD LD. What is BPA, and what are the concerns about BPA?. Mayo Clinic. 2010 December 2.
  3. La Leche League International. Can human milk be heated in the microwave? Heating Human Milk in the Microwave. 2007 February 18.