This writer decided about a couple of years ago to stop using those oh so convenient microwave ovens due to all the possibilities of radioactive “who knows what” harming my family and myself. Then, this past Christmas, a dear friend gave me a beautiful, burgundy-colored microwave and all the old doubts arose once again.
Consequently, because of the “pros” put out by microwave manufacturers and enthusiasts and all the “cons” put out by food safety experts, I decided to find out as much as possible as to the perennial question, “should I or should I not use microwaves ovens?” Here are some of my researched fact findings; and hopefully, this may put to rest some of my “should I” or “should I not” use microwave ovens questions–and that of others as well.
Some Microwave Background Info
Back during WWII, it is reported that the Nazis invented the first microwaves. They were supposedly used for heating meals in preparation for the Russian invasion for logistical purposes of eliminating cooking fuel transportation.
It is further reported that microwave technology then fell into the hands of the Russians which proceeded to conduct research on the biological effects. If the reports are to be believed, the Russians were so frightened by the technology that they were banned in 1976.
Dr. Hans Hertel, a Swiss food scientist, after much testing concluded that food cooking with microwave altered the nutrients of the food–to such an extent that participants’ blood chemistry changed considerably when consuming the food.
Among Other Negative Results Prior To 2000 Tests Were:
* Blood hemoglobin (the extremely important oxygen-carrying component of the blood) decreased significantly after eating microwaved foods.
* White blood cell count rose, (as it does in response to an infection).
* LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) increased, and HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) decreased.
* Carcinogenic (cancer-causing) agents in foods increased.
* Higher incidence of digestive system cancers.
To Nuke or Not To Nuke
Without a doubt, microwaves do emit radiation. At least, the amount of radiation emitted has provoked the Food and Drug Administration, (FDA), to establish a “safe” level for microwaves: over the machine’s “lifetime” the allowable level is “5 milliwatts of microwave radiation per square centimeter…approximately 2 inches from the oven surface.” Consequently, if the FDA has stated there is a “safety” level of radiation which can be reached and beyond, there is definitely need for concern.
Another aspect of microwave safety is that heating food in a microwave creates uneven heat and cold spots. Eating food with cool spots in turn, may provide the ideal medium for bacterial growth of salmonella resulting in food poisoning.
In addition, plastic wrap or containers coming in contact with food may result in acquiring cancer-causing chemicals. One recent study, found carcinogenic ingredients in plastic wrap were 10,000 times the FDA limit for safety!
Exposure to BPA, used in the manufacture of polycarbonate and other plastics found in water bottles and “microwavable safe” containers may cause reproductive and erectile problems, heart disease and diabetes.
In addition to the radiation danger aspect of microwaves, there are yet several other aspects of safety with which to be concerned.
Although microwaving food does not equal food irradiation, involving a higher level of energy and more complex chemical changes of food, the research facts are very contradictory. For example, one research result indicates a loss of glucosinolates, a possible cancer preventative compound nutrient as opposed to steaming or stir frying.
On the other hand, University of Illinois research indicated that microwaving with a lower power setting provided equal or better nutrient retention than conventional methods of heating.
Let The Consumer Beware: N-u-k-e W-i-s-e-l-y
During these often called “end-times”, one favorite phrase of this writer has become…choose wisely.
It seems that much of humanity has gone insane and the rest of humanity is at its own mercy. However, using God’s given wisdom in life may help alleviate if not totally eliminate the ills which mankind has brought on itself.
In regards to microwave ovens, this is especially the case. This writer does not intend to give up the use of the brand new burgundy-colored microwave gift just received; however, I will proceed with much caution.
Below are just some of the precautions and steps one can utilize to help ensure microwave safety in the family. (1)
* Over-heated water: Long periods of time when heating water or liquids in the microwave oven can result in explosions and steam burns. It is best setting timer to just below recommended temperature and time setting.
* Cook meals in traditional, conventional ovens or pots and re-heat only for short periods in a microwave.
* NEVER, NEVER stand directly in front of a microwave and especially PROHIBIT CHILDREN from watching popcorn pop in the bag.
* Do not operate a microwave oven if not securely and firmly closed.
* Planning ahead by taking food out of freezer that morning or the night before and defrosting in the frig will eliminate the nuke defrost process.
* Put a small conventional oven or even broiler toaster to use by planning ahead. Keeping it at a low 200-250 degrees and slowly warming food 20-30 minutes will do wonders.
Yes, a microwave oven is an attractive convenience in today’s household but once again, choose wisely as they do come with their negative downsides and merit great caution.
Written by Beverly Anne Sanchez, March 14, 2011