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Microwave ovens were introduced to the market in the 1970s but started to become popular in the 1980s and 90s and now over 90 per cent of U.S homes have one. The UK and Europe are probably close behind and you, too, may have one in your kitchen. You may wonder how you ever managed without a microwave as they are very convenient for defrosting food, reheating food, and cooking a ready-meal from the freezer within minutes. In our busy lives, microwaves have become an "essential" cooking implement and some people use them more than a conventional oven and hob.
Microwave Oven

Microwave Ovens

Are they safe?

But, are they safe? Surely the government wouldn't allow them if there was any doubt about their safety. For those of you who have been reading other articles on this site, you will be aware of the tactics used by industry to denigrate studies performed by independent scientists. Remember tobacco, fluoridation, cosmetics, toiletries and aspartame? So why did the Soviet Union ban the use of microwave ovens in 1976? Keep reading and you will find out.
How do microwaves work?

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic energy, like light waves or radio waves. Each oven contains a tube in which electrons are affected by magnetic and electric fields to produce microwave radiation. This device is called a magnetron. The microwave radiation bombards food, creating friction which heats up the food. However, this also causes substantial damage to the surrounding molecules, often tearing them apart or forcefully deforming them.
Microwave Clip
“Although microwaves heat food quickly, they are not recommended for heating a baby's bottle. The bottle may seem cool to the touch, but the liquid inside may become extremely hot and could burn the baby's mouth and throat …

Heating the bottle in a microwave can cause slight changes in the milk. In infant formulas, there may be a loss of some vitamins.

In expressed breast milk, some protective properties may be destroyed".

Another concern about heating a baby's bottle in a microwave was reported by Dr Lita Lee of Hawaii in The Lancet, December 9, 1989.  She discovered changes to baby formula when heated in a microwave that made the formula toxic to both the nervous system and the kidneys.

In an article in the journal, Paediatrics (volume 89, no.4, April 1992) entitled "Effects of Microwave Radiation on Anti-Infective Factors in Human Milk", Richard Quan MD and John A Kerner MD found that microwaving human milk (breast milk) - even at a low setting - can destroy some of its important disease-fighting capabilities. -  "... Heating the milk well above body temperature - 37 degrees centigrade - can break down not only its antibodies to infectious agents, but also its lysozymes or bacteria-digesting enzymes". They also found that breast milk heated at 72 degrees centigrade to 98 degrees centigrade lost 96 % of its immunoglobulin A antibodies, agents that fend off invading microbes. The final statement of their study reads:

"This preliminary study suggests that microwaving human milk could be detrimental. Further studies are needed to determine whether and how microwaving could safely be done".

Other Studies

1)  Comparative Study of Food Prepared Conventionally and in the Microwave Oven, published by Raum & Zelt, 1992

"A basic hypothesis of natural medicine states that the introduction into the human body of molecules and energies, to which it is not accustomed, is much more likely to cause harm than good...

Artificially produced microwaves, including those in ovens are produced from alternating current and fire a billion or more polarity reversals per second in every food molecule they hit...

One short term study found significant and disturbing changes in the blood of individuals consuming microwaved milk and vegetables.... Haemoglobin levels decreased and over all white cell levels and cholesterol levels increased. Lymphocytes decreased."

2)  The Swiss Clinical Study
In 1991, Dr Hans Ulrich Hertel, who worked as a food scientist at one of the major Swiss food companies, and Bernard H Blanc, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University Institute of Biochemistry, published a research paper indicating that food cooked in microwave ovens could pose a greater risk to health than food cooked by conventional ovens.

In their carefully controlled study lasting eight weeks, they concluded that microwave cooking changed the nutrients so that changes took place in the participants’ blood that could cause deterioration in the human body systems.

As soon as Hertel and Blanc announced their results in 1992, the Swiss Association of Dealers for Electro-Apparatuses for Households and Industry forced the President of the Court of Seftigen, Kanton Bern, to issue a "gag order" against them. Blanc quickly recanted his support but Hertel stood his ground. In March 1993, Dr Hertel was convicted for "interfering with commerce" and prohibited from further publishing his results.

However, Dr Hertel fought this decision over the years and defied the court by appearing at large seminars in Germany. In August 1998, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg held that there had been a violation of Hertel’s rights in the 1993 decision. They also ruled that the "gag order" issued by the Swiss court in 1992 against Dr Hertel, prohibiting him from declaring that microwave ovens are dangerous to human health, was contrary to the right to freedom of expression. Switzerland was ordered to pay Dr. Hertel compensation.

3)  Russian and German Studies
The Russians and Germans in the 1940s and 50s conducted research on the biological effects of microwaves in radar and also on how they affected foods. They discovered that foods exposed to microwave radiation had cancer-causing effects on the body, had a marked reduction in nutrients, and caused a deterioration in general health.  The Russians decided to ban the use of microwave ovens in the Soviet Union as a direct result of these findings.

Unfortunately, studies on the effect of microwaves are few and far between. The microwave industry only seems interested in taking steps to minimise dangerous microwaves escaping from their ovens into the surrounding area where the radiation could cause damage to humans. Yet, even in the best made ovens, the industry has to admit that some microwaves will escape.

In her book Health Effects of Microwave Radiation - Microwave Ovens, Dr Lita Lee of Hawaii stated that every microwave oven leaks electromagnetic radiation, harms food, and converts substances cooked in it to dangerous organ-toxic and carcinogenic products.

It seems illogical that an industry which recognises that microwaves which leak out from an oven pose a threat to human health, is so against testing the effects of microwaves on humans who eat microwaved foods. I wonder why!

For more detailed information about the hazards of microwaves, visit Dr Mercola’s website by clicking here.

Videos about the Dangers of Microwave Ovens

Click on the clips below to view each video
Dr. Group from Global Healing Center explains the dangers of microwaves in his video blog
An amateur video demonstrating how much radiation leaks from a one-year old microwave oven
Throw out your microwave!

Here is a list of reasons why you should consider throwing out your microwave oven, taken from the findings of the Swiss, Russian and German clinical studies:

1). Continually eating food processed from a microwave oven causes long term - permanent - brain damage by "shorting out" electrical impulses in the brain (de-polarising or de-magnetising the brain tissue).

2). The human body cannot metabolise (break down) the unknown by-products created in microwaved food.

3). Male and female hormone production is shut down and/or altered by continually eating microwaved foods.

4). The effects of microwaved food by-products are residual (long term, permanent) within the human body.

5). Minerals, vitamins, and nutrients of all microwaved food is reduced or altered so that the human body gets little or no benefit, or the human body absorbs altered compounds that cannot be broken down.

6). The minerals in vegetables are altered into cancerous free radicals when cooked in microwave ovens.

7). Microwaved foods cause stomach and intestinal cancerous growths (tumours). This may explain the rapidly increased rate of colon cancer in America and Europe.

8). The prolonged eating of microwaved foods causes cancerous cells to increase in human blood.

9). Continual ingestion of microwaved food causes immune system deficiencies through lymph gland and blood serum alterations.

10). Eating microwaved food causes loss of memory, concentration, emotional instability, and a decrease of intelligence.
Disclaimer: The information in this article should not be regarded as medical advice.  If you are receiving medical treatment or taking prescribed medication, you are advised to consult your GP or health practitioner before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Warnings on baby milk

A number of warnings have been made public, particularly regarding the heating of baby milk in a microwave oven. One such warning was published in 1989 by Young Families, the Minnesota Extension Service of the University of Minnesota. It states: