#2 Are We Microwaving Ourselves? – The Dangers Of Microwave Ovens

25 05 2010

The other day my flatmates told me off for choosing to heat my spaghetti hoops up in the microwave other than the hob.They couldn’t elaborate on their prejudism other than stating that “It’s just better for you”. But why is that? And how have microwaves become such a necessity if they carry such a danger?

Upon researching I found some shocking suggestions…

Many people believe that the basis behind the microwave ovens is that it just simply cooks and/or heats up your food. In fact, the miracle of microwave ovens have made them increasingly popular world-wide, rendering any negativities of the machines widely unacknowledged. After all, microwave manufacturers would not want to reduce their profit by promoting the dangers of their product, and have apparently undertaken drastic actions in the past to keep their secrets hidden. In 2007, studies showed that 91% of UK households owned a microwave oven, therefore it comes as no surprise that people are quite sceptical about the dangers they may possess.

But there is evidence that suggests many potential hidden hazards, the likes of which various reports and journals have previously outlined. For example, if microwaves are so safe, why were they banned in Russia? Why are mothers not allowed to heat milk for infants in the microwave? In that case, does it make sense that we take such precautions for our young children but we cannot do it for ourselves?

How do they work?

The basis of the microwave oven is the use of radiation to heat the water molecules in food, thereby exciting them and releasing heat – essentially cooking the food. It can be said that the electromagnetic waves used inflict such a violent force upon the molecules, they effectively “rip them apart” in order to denature them for the desired effect. These electromagnetic waves can also have devastatingly similar effects if exposed to the human body.

Obviously it is argued that like any appliance, microwaves have safety procedures built into them such as metal wiring through which the radiation cannot penetrate. And although there are many safety procedures built into the microwave itself, such as the common knowledge not to use metal in the microwave, it is the internal dangers within the food heated itself that seems to be problematic.

Not just a heating device…

Many previous reports have mentioned a particular case in Oklahoma 1991, where a patient died due to the fact that the blood she obtained in a blood transfusion was heated in a microwave oven. Now I am aware that most of you would never heat your blood in a microwave oven (!), but this shows vital evidence that the microwaves do not just simply heat food, but also alter the configuration of the substances within them.

Serving up a tasty carcinogen…

The most incriminating findings were done by Switzerland’s Dr Hans Hertel who in the 1980’s, discovered that microwaved food caused serious irregularities on the blood of consumers – the likes of which produce carcinogens. This effectively means that microwaving food can produce cancer-causing agents within your body. Upon a further study with 8 individuals, it was determined that the microwaves caused shocking irregularities in the food itself, as well as in the blood of the consumers.

You may wonder how you have never come across these accusations in the mainstream media. The reason for this is that the findings produced such unwanted controversy within the microwave industry that apparently a ‘gag order’ was forced upon Dr Hertel and his companion Bernard Blanc. Certain sources even claim the extent of the drama caused Blanc to later dismiss himself from the research, after threats were made to him and his family’s lives.

Another important factor that must be addressed is the ban Russia inflicted upon microwave ovens in 1976. The institute of Radio Technology at Kinsk, Byelorussian, had discovered a number of incriminating factors including the cancer causing agents described above. Other discoveries included a decrease in the function of various systems within the body, namely the digestive and immune systems due to a decrease in the number of white blood cells. As a result the body cannot mount a fully effective defence system against cancerous growths, creating an increased susceptibility to stomach and intestinal cancers.

Got milk? Got nutrients? No!

As if cancer alone is not enough substantial proof to avoid microwave ovens, another significant aspect is the decrease in food value. Studies have shown that nutritonal levels in microwaved food is severely reduced, particularly the B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and essential minerals. Because of the severe denaturing, the body can gain little from the foods consumed as they are unavailable or unable to absorb them. For example, researchers found that broccoli lost 74-97% of key antioxidants after being microwaved in boiling water after for 5 minutes.

This concept is shockingly well known in the population, but limited as common guidelines to warming milk for infants only. Mothers are advised not to warm breast-milk bottles in the microwave due to a loss of nutrients and essential white blood cells needed to build up the infant’s immune system. It does not occur to us that these conditions apply to the everyday use and heating of food for us all.

Microwave’s are not good for you!

The message seems clear – using the microwave to heat food seems to have serious hidden consequences. It is a controversial subject which I’m sure has many arguments for and against, but it can’t be denied – the evidence is quite overwhelming. As well as reducing the nutritional value of foods, microwaving foods leaves us more susceptible to serious conditions such as cancer. And with 1 in 4 of all UK deaths being due to cancer, which of us are prepared to take that risk? I know I’ll be reaching for the saucepan rather than the microwave next time I make my spaghetti hoops…