Here are some of the things we DO KNOW: about Microwave
• 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 Phone Taskforce.
• 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 your brain!
• 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
• 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
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 Conventional Oven?
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 conventional heating.
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 effects.
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
• Microwave heating and conventional heating may appear
identical on a “macro” level, but the two appear very
different on a molecular level.
• 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
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
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 antennae, 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
• 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 foods
• 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.
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