During a visit with some friends about a week ago the conversation steered towards the use of microwave ovens. Their microwave oven had been sent for repair and in the course of the event they were told by those at the fixit shop how to use the microwave oven safely.
They were advised that food cooked or heated up in a microwave oven should not be eaten immediately but left for about ten minutes before being consumed. They were also warned that when the beep of the microwave goes off it is advisable to wait for several minutes before opening the oven door in order to avoid ourselves being exposed to an unnecessary amount of microwaves.
This reminded me and confirmed that my refrainment from getting that oh-so-convenient microwave oven at all was the wisest thing I have done in my entire life. Very few other decisions can compare in wisdom, if there are any at all.
There have been reports of the dangers of consuming food cooked or heated up in a microwave oven for years but apparently the convenience that a microwave oven provides especially for working or single mothers far outshines the danger that it poses and as a result most who can afford do and will own one.
In all forms of cooking whether it be stir frying, steaming boiling or baking and so on, heat is applied to food. This heat comes from an external source. It is generated by some sort of fuel, firewood, charcoal, gas or electricity.
Microwave ovens however don't produce heat. Microwave ovens cook food by producing waves of energy, that is the microwaves, which is a high energy radiation that excite certain molecules within your food such as water and fat. Atoms, molecules and cells within the food are forced to reverse polarity, causing fricton which in turn produces the heat.
In other words the heat is produced in the food itself which in turn explains why the food that is microwaved is always hotter than the container that holds it. This oscillation tears and deforms the molecular structure of food and new compounds, called radiolytic compounds, which are not found in nature are formed. This deformation impairs the quality of the nutrients and the damamged cells also become easy prey to viruses, fungi and other microorganisms.
This 'tearing apart' of the food molecules sometimes rearranges them into toxic substances that cause many allergic responses.
Dr Hans Ulrich-Hertal, a Swiss biologist, in his study proved for the first time that microwave energy(retained in food) which promoted cancer could be transmitted to humans through the consumption of this food, and not by just being near the oven as has long been known.
Other studies done in the US and elsewhere lend support to Hertels findings
Russia banned microwave ovens in 1976 because of the negative health consequences.
Tests in Russia conducted on microwaved food showed that carcinogens were found in virtually all foods tested. We all know that carcinogen is a cancer causing substance.
Some of the other findings are:
1. Microwave alters food substances causing digestive disorders
2. It alters the food chemistry and can lead to malfunction in the lymphatic system and degeneration of the body's immune system's capacity to protect itself against cancerous growth.
3. Microwave foods lead to a higher percentage of cancerous cells in the blood stream.
4. Microwaving milk and cereal grains converted some of their amino acids into carcinogens
According to Russian studies one need not eat microwaved foods to suffer from its side effects. Exposure to the energy field itself when one uses it or is close to the oven can be detrimental to health.
This is because all microwave ovens leak.
In 1990, during a microwave oven testing programme conducted by the Berlin Foundation for Product Tests, it was found that all of the ovens emitted microwaves while in operation.
Slamming the oven door, basic wear and tear, broken or missing door glass, manufacturing defects and food particle build up around door seals can also cause microwave leakage.
While gas leak is easily detected,with microwave ovens there is no easy way to detect leakages. Leaked microwave can damage your health. They can cook the protein in your eye lens causing cataracts.
Parts of the body that can be affected by microwave radiation are those that cannot dissipate heat quickly like the lens of the eye, stomach, intestine and the bladder.
In 1991 Norma Levitt of Oklahoma had hip surgery only to be killed by a sample blood transfusion when a nurse warmed the blood for transfusion by microwaving it. Although blood for transfusion are normally warmed they are however not warmed in the microwave. It was reported that the microwaving altered the blood.
Other tests have shown that the practice of reheating leftover food in the micrwave is potentially dangerous.
In 1995, the UK Consumer's association reheated food in 14 microwave ovens, tested them and found temperature differences of up to 40 degrees C between the hottest and the coldest parts of the food. The presence of cold spots means that some bacteria in the food will survive and can cause ill health.
Heating up food is always a chore as I have to either heat up food in a pan over the stove or in the oven. It takes longer and is certainly not as convenient as heating up food in a microwave oven. Inspite of that I am still adamant about getting a microwave oven because I know that if there is one in the home the temptation of using it on a daily basis is very great.
However, after reading many articles on the dangers of microwave ovens I have opted very willingly to make my life somewhat miserable if just to go to sleep at the end of the day with a guilt free conscience and for the sake of my family's health.
Health before convenience.
The information above have been obtained from various sources, that is, an article that appeared in a paper by the Consumers'Asociation of Penang and here and here and here.