Do you want to live next door to a nuclear power plant? A stupid question, right? But think about this:
Over five million homes have their own little boxes of radiation sitting right in the kitchen. They’re called microwave ovens.
Now comparing a microwave oven to a nuclear plant may seem silly. After all, a microwave oven doesn’t even give off the same type of radiation as an atomic energy source or an x-ray machine. The radiation from a microwave oven is about like what you get from radar or what is called low-energy nonionizing radiation.
But that microwave oven sits in many a house. It’s used day in and day out. It’s a constant source of low-level radiation that penetrates through the house. Is the microwave oven dangerous? Yes!
A microwave oven is like a fallout shelter in reverse: It’s a tight little box that is designed to keep the radiation in. If you have a perfect, tight box, then the radiation won’t get out. But a microwave oven is not a perfect, tight box. Radiation does leak out, especially around the door and the seals of the oven.
There are government standards for “acceptable” leakage rates for microwave ovens. In other words, microwave ovens can leak a certain amount of radiation and still be considered safe.
There is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation. Dr. Karl Morgan, a researcher on the effects of radiation on human health, stated: “From 1960 to the present, an overwhelming amount of data have been accumulated that show there is no safe level of exposure and there is no dose of radiation so low that the risk of malignancy is zero.”
How Microwaves Can Harm Us
Microwave ovens do not make the food cooked in them radioactive. Food cooked in a microwave oven is no more nor less harmful than any cooked food. Any time heat is applied to food, destruction of nutrients and alteration of food chemistry occurs. Consequently, microwaved food is not better for you just because it is cooked for a shorter time. Microwaves destroy food faster than conventional cooking methods, but they do not destroy food less.
The main reasons for recent concern about microwave ovens are:
- Microwaves can interfere with the normal operation of certain heart pacemakers, as well as other electrical and electronic items.
- The thermal effect of exposure to these waves may harm sensitive body cell tissue or organ function.
- Microwave radiation can cause eye damage and cataracts and is suspected of causing other ailments, including nervous exhaustion.
- Low-energy, nonionizing radiation may also be capable of causing detrimental health effects not fully understood or recognized as such.
Nobody Really Knows How Dangerous They May Be
There are safety standards for microwave ovens, and consumers feel safe that they are buying, government-regulated equipment. What is not generally known is that the Soviet Union, which has done more research on microwave radiation than any other country, has an acceptable radiation level for the public that is one thousand times stricter than U.S. levels.
Not only that, but the biophysicist, Dr. A.H. Frey, has discovered that the human nervous system reacts to microwave exposure that is 300 times below the government standards for microwave ovens.
Older microwave ovens frequently leak more than new ones. Improper servicing, cleaning, and general wear cause radiation leakages to increase. If someone you know has a microwave oven, there are several steps you can take to minimize irradiation leakage:
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- Never insert objects around the door seal.
- Examine the oven for shipping damage or damage through normal use.
- Do not tamper with or inactivate the oven safety interlocks.
- Frequently clean oven cavity, door and seals with mild detergent. Do not use scouring pads, steel wool, or other abrasives.
- Stay at least an arm’s length away from the oven when it is in use and keep your eyes away from the door.
But Why Have One At All?
Microwave ovens are unnecessary convieniences. They were developed so foods could be cooked in a hurry. Just like TV dinners, precooked convenience foods, and fast foods, microwave ovens exist because people are too lazy or too unaware to provide good nutrition for themselves and their families.
So what if you can cook a frozen chicken in four minutes? Do you need to eat a chicken, frozen or otherwise? The truth is that the best foods to eat require no cooking and little preparation.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and sprouts do not need to be microwaved, boiled, baked, or fried. They’re delicious as they are, ready to eat. If any cooking is to be done to food, it should be light steaming which destroys as few nutrients as possible. You can’t even steam for food in a microwave.
Like fast foods, microwave ovens are “fast cooking” and they are associated with the same sort of convenience orientation. For superior health, you should eat as few cooked foods as possible. And you certainly should not have a leaky box of radiation sitting in your kitchen!