Friday, November 11, 2011

Are microwaves dangerous?

CHICAGO - JANUARY 22: A microwave oven made by...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
We use so many appliances in our homes for convenience that most of us do not stop and think about the effects that they have on our health.  Periodically, the controversy turns to microwaves and the potential for negative effects on human health.  I decided to check it out.  The facts were not too encouraging.  So, what do we do?

Well, let's find out the facts.

How do microwaves work?

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic (electrical and magnetic) energy. These waves of radioactive energy are very short (2.4GHz) and are capable of traveling at the speed of light.  They are produced by the magnetron tube in the microwave oven.
 
This electromagnetic energy also changes the polarity of the molecules in food from positive to negative with each cycle.  This happens millions of times per second.  This activity creates friction which heats the food (water molecules present in the food vibrate in all directions creating steam that cooks it).

Unfortunately, this friction also damages surrounding molecules which changes the structure of the food. How? No one fully knows. Studies have shown that antioxidant nutrition and vitamins are lost in microwaved food.  It is also well known that due to the variations in the amount of water in foods, uneven heating can occur which can be dangerous. It is also known that baby formula should not be heated in the microwave due to loss of nutrients and structural changes.  And, there is a medical report that shows that a patient died in 1991 from receiving a blood transfusion that was warmed in a microwave oven.

Health Risks and the microwave

A few years ago studies revealed that foods heated in plastic packaging and containers leaked toxic chemicals into microwaved foods.  Chemicals such as polyethylene terpthalate (PET), benzene, toluene and xylene were found to be present in foods.  BPA bisphenol A, became a household word. All of these chemicals have been linked to cancer.

Our eyes are sensitive to the effects of microwave oven radiation as cataracts can occur due to such exposure. It is best to stand back when operating the microwave.

Studies have shown that microwaves can affect the heart. Changes in heart rate and rhythm were noted in Trent University study. It is already known that those who have pacemakers should avoid the microwave.

Blood sugar elevation has also been associated with microwave use. Low hemoglobin levels have also been associated with microwave use.

Other health complaints associated with microwave use include:
Insomnia
Headaches and dizziness
Swollen lymph nodes
weakened immune system
Impaired cognition
Depression
Nausea
appetite loss

Russia and other countries,ban the use of microwaves. This leaves us plenty to think about.

Summary

Become familiar with the facts in order to make an informed decision regarding the use of microwaves in the home. Remember, that big businesses are only interested in profits and not the health of the public.


Sources:

Wayne, Anthony & Newell, Lawrence, "The Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking"
www.health-science.com


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