March 18, 2013
In Russia, microwave ovens were banned in 1976 because of their
negative health consequences as many studies were conducted on their
use. The ban was lifted after Perestroika in the early 90's.
Here are some of their findings on microwaving food:
Microwaved foods lose 60 ~ 90% of their nutritional value and it
also accelerates the structural disintegration of food.
Microwaving creates cancer-causing agents within milk and
Microwaving alters elemental food-substances, causing digestive
Microwaving alters food chemistry which can lead to malfunctions
in the lymphatic system and degeneration of the body's ability to
protect itself against cancerous growths.
Microwaved foods lead to a higher percentage of cancerous cells
in the bloodstream.
Microwaving altered the breakdown of elemental substances when
raw, cooked, or frozen vegetables were exposed for even a very short
time and free radicals were formed.
Microwaved foods caused stomach and intestinal cancerous growths,
a general degeneration of peripheral cellular tissues, and a gradual
breakdown of the digestive and excretive systems in a statistically
high percentage of people.
Microwaved foods lowered the body's ability of the body to
utilize B-complex vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, essential minerals
The microwave field next to a microwave oven caused a slew of
health problems as well.
Heating prepared meats in a microwave sufficiently for human
d-Nitrosodiethanolamine (a well-known cancer-causing agent)
Destabilization of active protein biomolecular compounds
Creation of a binding effect to radioactivity in the atmosphere.
Creation of cancer-causing agents within protein-hydrosylate
compounds in milk and cereal grains.
Microwave emissions also caused alteration in the catabolic
(breakdown) behavior of glucoside - and galactoside - elements
within frozen fruits when thawed in this way.
Microwaves altered catabolic behavior of plant-alkaloids when
raw, cooked or frozen vegetables were exposed for even very short
Cancer-causing free radicals were formed within certain
trace-mineral molecular formations in plant substances, especially
in raw root vegetables.
Due to chemical alterations within food substances, malfunctions
occurred in the lymphatic system, causing degeneration of the immune
systems' capacity to protect itself against cancerous growth.
The unstable catabolism of micro-waved foods altered their
elemental food substances, leading to disorders in the digestive
Those ingesting micro-waved foods showed a statistically higher
incidence of stomach and intestinal cancers, plus a general
degeneration of peripheral cellular tissues with a gradual breakdown
of digestive and excretory system function.
Microwave exposure caused significant decreases in the
nutritional value of all foods studied, particularly:
A decrease in the bioavailability of B-complex vitamins, vitamin
C, vitamin E, essential minerals and lipotrophics
Destruction of the nutritional value of nucleoproteins in meats
Lowering of the metabolic activity of alkaloids, glucosides,
galactosides and nitrilosides (all basic plant substances in fruits
Marked acceleration of structural disintegration in all foods.
Read the full report by Larry Cook entitled "Micro-waved Food Isn't
Safe To Eat"
1 The Swiss Association of Dealers for Electroapparatuses for
Households and Industry complained quite loudly about the findings,
which caused a court order to ban Hans Hertel from talking about his
findings about the dangers of microwaved food to the public. In
1998, the European Court of Human Rights held that there had been a
violation of Hertel's rights in the 1993 decision, lifted the gag
order and sentenced Switzerland to pay compensation of F 40,000. See
2 The World Foundation for Natural Science: "The Hidden Hazards of
Microwave Cooking," from
3 Health, Wealth & Happiness, "MICROWAVED
FOOD: It's Like Eating Nuclear Waste!."
4 Lubec, G. et al. (1989): Aminoacid Isomerisation
and Microwave Exposure. The Lancet, 2 (8676): 1392-93; and
The World Foundation for Natural Science: "The
Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking," from Nexus Magazine;
and "Healing with Whole Foods" by Paul Pitchford, pg. 20.
Convenience Comes at Significant Toxic Threat to You and Your Family
Microwaves heat food by causing water molecules in it to resonate at
very high frequencies and eventually turn to steam which heats your
food. While this can rapidly heat your food, what most people fail
to realize is that it also causes a change in your food's chemical
There are numerous issues that have emerged since microwave ovens
were first introduced to consumers more than 40 years ago, besides
depleting your food's nutritional value, which will be addressed a
The first thing you probably noticed when you began microwaving food
was how uneven the heating is.
"Hot spots" in microwaved food can be hot enough to cause burns
build up to a "steam explosion." This has resulted in admonitions to
new mothers about NOT using the microwave to heat up baby bottles,
since babies have been burned by super-heated formula that went
Another problem with microwave ovens is that carcinogenic toxins can
leach out of your plastic and paper containers/covers, and into your
The January/February 1990 issue of Nutrition Action Newsletter
reported the leakage of numerous toxic chemicals from the packaging
of common microwavable foods, including pizzas, chips and popcorn.
Chemicals included polyethylene terpthalate (PET), benzene, toluene,
and xylene. Microwaving fatty foods in plastic containers leads to
the release of dioxins (known carcinogens) and other toxins into
One of the worst contaminants is BPA, or bishenol A, an
estrogen-like compound used widely in plastic products. In fact,
dishes made specifically for the microwave often contain BPA, but
many other plastic products contain it as well.
Microwaving distorts and deforms the molecules of whatever food or
other substance you subject to it. An example of this is blood
Blood is normally warmed before being transfused into a person. Now
we know that microwaving blood products damages the blood
components. In fact, one woman died after receiving a transfusion of
microwaved blood in 1991, which resulted in a well-publicized
Microwave Radiation Leakage
You may have heard that there is some danger of microwaves escaping
from your microwave while it's operating. This was more of a risk
with earlier models than with recent ones, which undergo more
Theoretically, there are very small amounts of radiation leakage
through the viewing glass, but the FDA reports these levels are
"insignificant" and "well below the level known to harm people."
The FDA has been regulating microwave ovens since 1971 through its
electronic product radiation control program, which is mandated by
the Electronic Product Radiation Control provisions of the Food Drug
and Cosmetic Act
The FDA limits the amount of microwaves that can leak from an oven
throughout its lifetime to 5 milliwatts (mW) per square centimeter
at approximately 2 inches from the oven surface. Because microwave
energy decreases dramatically as you move away from the source of
the radiation, a measurement made 20 inches from your oven would be
approximately one-hundredth of the value measured at 2 inches.
The federal standard also requires all ovens to have "two
independent interlock systems that stop the production of microwaves
the moment the latch is released or the door is opened."
And a monitoring system is also required, which stops the operation
if one or both interlock systems fail.
You would think, with all these tests and regulations, that you'd be
However, according to Powerwatch, a non-profit independent
organization with a central role in the microwave radiation debate:
"Even when the microwave oven is
working correctly, the microwave levels within the kitchen are
likely to be significantly higher than those from any nearby
cellular phone base-stations. Remember also that microwaves will
travel through walls if the microwave oven is against an inside
Powerwatch also states that we don't really know if the current
regulations about leakage are truly safe and recommends ovens be
checked at least annually, since microwave emissions can change with
You might also consider purchasing a $20 testing device that allows
you to check the radiation in your home.
Make sure that, if you are going to use your microwave for cleaning
sponges or for any use at all, regularly examine the door and hinges
to make sure they are sealing properly. If the door doesn't close
correctly, or if it's warped, bent, or otherwise damaged, don't use
it at all!
Since your eyes are known to be particularly susceptible to
microwave radiation (high microwave exposures are known to cause
cataracts), I recommend stepping away from your microwave while it's
New Study Confirms Microwaves Affect Your Heart
A recent study examining the effects 2.4 GHz radiation (which is the
frequency of radiation emitted by Wifi routers and microwave ovens)
on the heart was just completed.
The study found "unequivocal
evidence" that microwave frequency radiation affects the heart at
non-thermal levels that are well below federal safety guidelines,
according to Dr. Magda Havas of Trent University
Dr. Havas says:
"This is the first study that
documents immediate and dramatic changes in both heart rate and
heart rate variability caused by an approved device that
generates microwaves at levels well below (0.3 percent) federal
guidelines in both Canada and the United States."
No longer can skeptics claim that microwaves produce no immediate
biological effects at ordinary household levels!
The study will be appearing in a peer-reviewed journal sometime
during the summer of 2010. If you are experiencing rapid or
irregular heartbeat, pain or pressure in your chest, you will want
to visit your physician and share this video with him or her (second
video on this page).
There is also evidence that this same frequency of radiation causes
blood sugar to spike in susceptible individuals and may actually be
the cause of one type of diabetes. For details about this, watch the
first video below.
Microwaving Also Zaps the Nutrients Right Out of Your Food
There has been surprisingly little research on how microwaves affect
organic molecules, or how the human body responds to consuming
Wouldn't you expect that a product that sits in more than 90 percent
of kitchens, as well as practically every break room in the country,
would have been thoroughly investigated for safety?
The handful of studies that have been done generally agree, for the
most part, that microwaving food damages its nutritional value. Your
microwave turns your beautiful, organic veggies, for which you've
paid such a premium in money or labor, into "dead" food that can
Heating food, in and of itself, can result in some nutrient loss,
but using microwaves to heat food introduces the additional problem
of the "microwave effect," a phenomenon that will be discussed in
The majority of studies on microwaves and nutrition were conducted
prior to 2000, I suspect because the focus of radiation research of
late has shifted toward a more ominous threat: environmental
radiation from electromagnetic devices, such as cell phones and
computers, which has mushroomed into a gigantic cloud of electrosmog
worldwide over the past decade.
Nevertheless, some excellent scientific data has been gathered
regarding the detrimental effects of microwaves on the nutrients in
A study published in the November 2003 issue of The Journal of the
Science of Food and Agriculture found that broccoli "zapped" in the
microwave with a little water lost up to 97 percent of its
By comparison, steamed broccoli lost 11
percent or fewer of its antioxidants. There were also reductions in phenolic compounds and glucosinolates, but mineral levels remained
A 1999 Scandinavian study of the cooking of asparagus spears found
that microwaving caused a reduction in vitamin C.
In a study of garlic, as little as 60 seconds of microwave heating
was enough to inactivate its allinase, garlic's principle active
ingredient against cancer.
A Japanese study by Watanabe showed that just 6 minutes of microwave
heating turned 30-40 percent of the B12 in milk into an inert (dead)
form. This study has been cited by Dr. Andrew Weil as evidence
supporting his concerns about the effects of microwaving.
"There may be dangers associated with microwaving food… there is a
question as to whether microwaving alters protein chemistry in ways
that might be harmful."
A recent Australian study showed that microwaves cause a higher
degree of "protein unfolding" than conventional heating.
Microwaving can destroy the essential disease-fighting agents in
breast milk that offer protection for your baby. In 1992, Quan found
that microwaved breast milk lost lysozyme activity, antibodies, and
fostered the growth of more potentially pathogenic bacteria.
Quan stated that more damage was done to the milk by microwaving
than by other methods of heating, concluding:
to be contraindicated at high-temperatures, and questions regarding
its safety exist even at low temperatures."
Another study about breast milk/infant formula by Lee in 1989 found
vitamin content becomes depleted by microwaving, and certain amino
acids are converted into other substances that are biologically
Some altered amino acids are poisons to the nervous system
and kidneys. (Numerous authors mention this study, yet I was unable
to find the original article/study, so I cannot personally validate.)
Although many of the above studies are not new, there is
certainly ample evidence that microwaving is NOT good for your food.
How Your Microwave Actually Heats Your Food
Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation - waves of
electrical and magnetic energy moving together through space.
radiation ranges from very high energy (gamma rays and x-rays) on
one end of the spectrum to very low energy (radio waves) on the
other end of the spectrum.
Microwaves are on the low energy end of the spectrum, second only to
radio waves. They have a wavelength of about 4.8 inches - about the
width of your head.
Microwaves are generated by something called a magnetron (a term
derived from the words "magnet" and "electron"), which is also what
enabled airborne radar use during WWII. Hence the early name for
microwave ovens: radar ranges.
A magnetron is a tube in which electrons are subjected to both
magnetic and electrical fields, producing an electromagnetic field
with a microwave frequency of about 2,450 megaHertz (MHz), which is
2.4 gigaHertz (GHz).
Microwaves cause dielectric heating. They bounce around the inside
of your oven and are absorbed by the food you put in it. Since water
molecules are bipolar, having a positive end and negative end, they
rotate rapidly in the alternating electric field. The water
molecules in the food vibrate violently at extremely high
frequencies - like millions of times per second - creating molecular
friction, which heats up the food.
If the food or object place in the microwave had no water it would
not be able to have this resonance heating type effect and would
remain cool. Or, as investigative journalist William Thomas calls
it, "electrical whiplash."
Structures of the water molecules are torn apart and forcefully
deformed. This is different than conventional heating of food,
whereby heat is transferred convectionally from the outside, inward.
Microwave cooking begins within the molecules where water is
Contrary to popular belief, microwaved foods don't cook "from the
When thicker foods are cooked, microwaves heat the
outer layers, and the inner layers are cooked mostly by the
conduction of heat from the hot outer layers, inward.
Since not all areas contain the same amount of water, the heating is
Additionally, microwaving creates new compounds that are not found
in humans or in nature, called radiolytic compounds. We don't yet
know what these compounds are doing to your body.
In addition to the violent frictional heat effects, called thermic
effects, there are also athermic effects, which are poorly
understood because they are not as easily measured. It is these
athermic effects that are suspected to be responsible for much of
the deformation and degradation of cells and molecules.
As an example, microwaves are used in the field of gene altering
technology to weaken cell membranes. Scientists use microwaves to
actually break cells apart. Impaired cells then become easy prey for
viruses, fungi and other microorganisms.
Another word for these athermic effects is the "microwave effect," a
subject of controversy that I'll get into a bit later.
When your tissues are directly exposed to microwaves, the same
violent deformations occur and can cause "microwave sickness."
People who have been exposed to high levels of microwave radiation
experience a variety of symptoms, including:
Insomnia, night sweats, and various sleep disturbances
Headaches and dizziness
Swollen lymph nodes and a weakened immune system
Depression and irritability
Nausea and appetite loss
Vision and eye problems
Frequent urination and extreme thirst
There is a good amount of data emerging that people are suffering,
to various degrees, these kinds of symptoms from living
next to cell
phone towers and other high-frequency radiation emitting antennas,
which emit microwaves around the clock.
According to Professor Franz Adelkofer, a leading scientist in the
area of biological effects of EMF fields:
"There is real evidence that hyperfrequency electromagnetic fields
can have geno-toxic effects. And this damaged DNA is always the
cause of cancer.
We've found these damaging effects on the genes at levels well below
the safety limits. That's why we think it's urgent to base our
safety limits on the biological effects, not the thermic ones.
They should be based on biology, not on physics."
Twenty Years of Russian Research Supports Microwave Concerns
The Nazis are credited with inventing the first microwave-cooking
device to provide mobile food support to their troops during their
invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II.
These first microwave
ovens were experimental. After the war, the US War Department was
assigned the task of researching the safety of microwave ovens.
But it was the Russians who really took the bull by the horns.
After the war, the Russians had retrieved some of these microwave
ovens and conducted thorough research on their biological effects.
Alarmed by what they learned, the Russians banned microwave ovens in
1976, later lifting the ban during Perestroika.
Twenty years of Russian research (and German studies as far back as
1942 Berlin) make a strong argument against the safety of microwave
Their findings led the Russian government to issue an international
warning about possible biological and environmental damage
associated with the use of microwave ovens and other similar
frequency electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones).
I was not able to personally evaluate any of these older bodies of
research, since those documents are now difficult to track down, so
I can't attest to their methodology or conclusions. All you can do
is weigh their findings appropriately, as best you can.
The Powerwatch article cited above summarizes the Russian research
quite well, which I will duplicate below.
Russian investigators found that carcinogens were formed from the
microwaving of nearly all foods tested.
The microwaving of milk and grains converted some of the amino acids
into carcinogenic substances.
Microwaving prepared meats caused the formation of the
cancer-causing agents d-Nitrosodienthanolamines.
Thawing frozen fruits by microwave converted their glucoside and
galactoside fractions into carcinogenic substances.
Extremely short exposure of raw, cooked or frozen vegetables
converted their plant alkaloids into carcinogens.
Carcinogenic free radicals were formed in microwaved
plants - especially root vegetables.
Structural degradation leading to decreased food value was found to
be 60 to 90 percent overall for all foods tested, with significant
decreases in bioavailability of B complex vitamins, vitamins C and
E, essential minerals, and lipotropics (substances that prevent
abnormal accumulation of fat).
I might add that this finding is supported by the 1998 Japanese
study by Watanabe7 about vitamin B12 in milk, cited above.
The Swiss Clinical Study - Hans Hertel
Some fairly compelling evidence supporting the destructive effects
of microwaves comes from a highly cited study by a Swiss food
scientist named Hans Hertel.
Dr. Hertel was the first scientist to
study the effects of microwaved foods on the blood and physiology of
His small study, coauthored by Dr. Bernard Blanc of the Swiss
Federal Institute of Technology and the University Institute for
Biochemistry, revealed the degenerative forces produced by microwave
ovens on the foods they cooked.
Dr. Hertel concluded that microwave cooking changed the nutrients in
the food, and that changes took place in the blood that could cause
negative health effects.
Hertel's conclusions were that microwaving food resulted in:
Increased cholesterol levels
Decreased numbers of leukocytes (white blood cells), which can
Decreased numbers of red blood cells
Production of radiolytic compounds
Decreased hemoglobin levels, which could indicate anemia
Not surprisingly, Dr. Hertel's study was met with great resistance
from those with much to lose.
A gag order against Dr. Hertel was issued by a Swiss trade
organization in 1992, which was later removed in 1998. But an
American journalist, Tom Valentine, published the results of Hertel's study in Search for Health in the spring of 1992.
The study was not without its shortcomings. It involved only eight
participants, of which Hertel was one. As compelling as his findings
were, his methodology did not stand up to the scientific rigors of
In spite of Hertel's methodological shortcomings, his findings do
raise concerns about what this form of radiation is doing to your
food and should be taken as a launching point to larger, more robust
studies in the future.
"There are no atoms, molecules, or cells of any organic system able
to withstand such a violent, destructive power for any period of
time. This will happen even given the microwave oven's low power
range of milliwatts."
Long-Term Effects of Exposure to Non-Ionizing Radiation
One of the basic controversies about the effects of microwaves
centers on whether or not microwaves exert some sort of force beyond
heat, commonly called "microwave effect" or "athermic effect."
It is first necessary that you understand the difference between
ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation.
There are two basic forms of radiation: ionizing and non-ionizing:
Ionizing Radiation: Creates charged ions by displacing electrons in
atoms, even without heat. Examples are radiation emitted from
radioactive substances in rocks and soil, cosmic rays of the sun,
and radiation from man-made technology such as x-rays machines,
power stations, and nuclear reactors.
Non-ionizing Radiation: Can change the position of atoms but not
alter their structure, composition, and properties. Examples are
visible light, ultraviolet and infrared waves, waves from radio or
television, cellular phones, microwaves, and electric blankets.
Despite not being able to break atoms apart, non-ionizing radiation
(such as microwaves) CAN cause physical alterations.
For example, sunlight can damage your skin and eyes. Overexposure to
radiation can affect tissues by causing molecular damage, DNA
mutations, and other changes that can lead to cancer.
The serious concern is, with all of this radiation surrounding us
from cell and cordless phones, radio towers, satellites, broadcast
antennas, military and aviation radar, home electronic devices,
computers and Internet, we are all part of an involuntary mass
epidemiological experiment, on a scale never before seen in the
history of the human race.
And the truth is that we don't really KNOW what long term, low-level
(but persistent) radiation does to us - even the non-ionizing type.
But here are some of the things we DO KNOW
Effects at low levels can be more noticeable than at higher levels.
There is something called a "window effect," meaning an effect
occurring only at specific frequencies or power densities, but not
occurring just above or below them. A number of studies demonstrate
effects of microwave radiation on blood cells via this phenomenon.
For a complete discussion of this, you can read Microwaving Our
Planet, written by Arthur Firstenberg, president of the Cellular
Cindy Sage of Sage Associates, an environmental consulting firm, has
compiled a comprehensive list of studies showing biological effects
at radiofrequency exposure levels far below what would be
explainable as "thermic effects" and well within the range you are
commonly exposed to every day.
Resonance intensifies biological effect. Resonance occurs when a
form of radiation has a similar frequency as a body part. For
example, microwave frequencies are similar to the frequencies of
Studies are typically done for short exposure periods, at higher
intensities. Scientists claim that duration of exposure is equally
important to intensity of exposure, but is often NOT studied, and
that long-term, low-level exposure can have effects equivalent to
short-term, more intense exposure.
The effects of radiation are cumulative. Your body becomes more
sensitive to it over time.
There are no longer any control groups, since human beings are all
now exposed to such pervasive radiation. Lack of a control group
makes it even more challenging to conduct meaningful studies.
The point is, standing in your kitchen while your microwave is
zapping your dinner, night after night, will not make you glow in
the dark. But over the months and years, what is the cumulative
effect on your body and health?
Why expose yourself to these potential dangers when there are safer
alternatives for cooking available?
Is Microwaving Food Any More Dangerous than Heating it with a
Some experts claim that the effects microwaves have on molecules can
all be explained simply as the "thermic effect" of heating
- in other
words, microwave cooking is no more detrimental to food than
They argue that, since microwaves are non-ionizing radiation, then
it's impossible for them to damage your blood cells, or eradicate
the folic acid in your spinach.
Others have proposed there is some sort of "microwave effect" that
causes changes in the molecules in a way that conventional heating
does not. For many years, the party line was that "microwave effect"
is a myth.
However, study after study has resulted in evidence to the contrary,
showing effects that cannot be explained away as simple thermal
In a letter entitled "DNA and the Microwave Effect" (sourced as Penn
State University, 2001), the author reviews the history of the
controversy surrounding the microwave effect and the research
findings to date. He explains that, although fundamentals of
thermodynamics and physics would tell you the microwave effect is
impossible, studies keep turning up evidence of its existence.
Some of the main points made in the letter are the following:
Microwave heating and conventional heating may appear identical on a
"macro" level, but the two appear very different on a molecular
Microwaves are effective for sterilization, which has been studied
for several decades. There is controversy, however, is about whether
it's the heat they generate or if it's something else altogether.
One scientist (Kakita 1995 ) was successful in demonstrating that
microwaves are capable ofextensively fragmenting and destroying
viral DNA, something that cannot be accomplished by heating alone.
Multiple studies offer evidence that there are multiple mechanisms
for breaking apart DNA without ionizing radiation, but no theory
currently exists to explain this phenomenon.
Some scientists are taking advantage of the microwave effect and
using microwaves in the laboratory to greatly accelerate chemical
reactions, sometimes by a factor of a thousand, resulting in the
completion of reactions in minutes that formerly took days or months
and a lot of toxic chemicals.
This newly found interest in "microwave chemistry" has spurred
skeptic scientists into taking another look at what microwaves
actually do and how they do it.
Sometimes common sense trumps empirical evidence.
The Penn State letter/article said it best:
"…It would seem there is reason to believe that the microwave effect
does indeed exist, even if it cannot yet be adequately explained.
What we know at present is somewhat limited, but there may be enough
information already available to form a viable hypothesis.
The possibility that electromagnetic radiation in the non-ionizing
frequency range can cause genetic damage may have profound
implications on the current controversy involving EM antenna, power
lines, and cell phones."
Breaking Free of Your Microwave - A Few Basic Tips
Am I asking you to toss your microwave oven into the nearest
Not necessarily. It can be a useful tool for cleaning. But if real
estate in your kitchen is at a premium, it should probably be the
first thing to go.
You really CAN survive sans microwave - people are living quite
happily without one, believe it or not.
You just have to make a few
small lifestyle adjustments, such as:
Plan ahead. Take your dinner out of the freezer that morning or the
night before so you don't end up having to scramble to defrost a
5-pound chunk of beef two hours before dinnertime.
Make soups and stews in bulk, and then freeze them in gallon-sized
freezer bags or other containers. An hour before meal time, just
take one out and defrost it in a sink of water until it's thawed
enough to slip into a pot, then reheat it on the stove.
A toaster oven makes a GREAT faux-microwave for heating up
leftovers! Keep it at a low temperature - like 200-250 degrees F
and gently warm a plate of food over the course of 20-30 minutes.
Another great alternative is a convection oven. They can be built in
or purchased as a relatively inexpensive and quick safe way to heat
Prepare your meals in advance so that you always have a good meal
available on those days when you're too busy or too tired to cook.
Try eating more organic raw foods. This is the best way to and
improve your health over the long run.