Almost everyone has a microwave in there home, they provide an enormous convenience for the modern home, but also come at a dangerous cost. Although they are extremely efficient at heating food, they also damage and reduce the quality of that food. On top of that, the enormous amount of EMF radiation that microwave ovens emit can be extremely hazardous. I want to go in depth into exactly how microwaves work, and why you should possibly reconsider having one in your home.
How Do Microwave Ovens Work?
Microwave ovens use a form of EMF radiation, radio waves, to heat food. Here is how it works:
Go take a look at your microwave, you’ll notice that the keypad is on one side, and the empty box that you heat the food in is on the other. Behind that keypad is a magnetron that generates microwaves. This magnetron takes electricity from the power outlet and turns the electricity into extremely high powered radio waves.
Using something called a “waveguide,” the magnetron sends these radio waves into the compartment. The food that is put into the microwave on the spinning plate is “cooked” evenly by the radiation bouncing around inside. These bouncing waves, when they hit the food, are absorbed.
The make the molecules inside the food vibrate violently which heats the food. This is how the food heats up, the more radio waves absorbed by the food, the faster the molecules vibrate and the hotter the food gets.
Do Microwave Ovens Damage Food?
The way that microwaves bombard food with radiation in order to heat it, although it is very efficient at heating, also alters the food’s molecular structure. Since the molecules vibrate so quickly, they are deformed. When food is cooked more conventional ways, it uses conventional heat and the food is heated from the outside inward.
Most people assume that microwaves cook food from the inside out, but in reality, the food is cooked based on the water content. Since all foods have completely different amounts of water in them, they are cooked unevenly.
Later on in this article, i’ll talk about how microwaves deplete food of their nutritional value, but more than that, there is some research to suggest that microwave ovens can also create carcinogenic properties when some foods are heated.
A book written by Case Adams called “Electromagnetic Health: Making Sense of the Research and Practical Solutions for Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) and Radio Frequencies (RF) stated that research at the University of California determined that microwave ovens produced both heterocyclic aromatic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, both of which are possible carcinogens. Other research has shown that carcinogens are possibly created in all types of foods when they are microwaved.
Do Microwave Ovens Deplete Nutrition From Food?
Most conventional science would say that microwaves do not damage the nutritional value of food, however, the truth is that very little research has really been done. Considering how common microwaves are, and the strength of the EMF radiation that cooks the food, you would think that there effect on the food you eat would have been studied thoroughly but it really isn’t the case.
There are quite a few studies however that show that microwave ovens do damage the nutritional value of the food you eat. Both the heating of the food, and the bombardment of radiation waves into the food do damage to the foods health value.
There has been surprisingly little research on how microwaves affect organic molecules, or how the human body responds to consuming microwaved food. Considering most modern households use a microwave, you’d expect it to have been thoroughly investigated for safety, not only in terms of standing near it during operation, but also in terms of its impact on the food. Sadly, that’s not the case.
Here are a few examples of studies that determined the loss in nutritional value from microwave ovens:
- In 1999 Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica B published a study stating that the microwaving of asparagus caused a reduction in nutritional value and a reduction in vitamin C.
- in 2001 the Journal of Nutrition found that microwaving garlic for as little as 60 seconds inactivated the allinase, which is the cancer fighting enzyme in garlic.
- In a Japanese study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food chemistry in 1998, they determined that microwaving milk for 6 minutes changed 30 to 40 percent of the B-12 into a dead, non-nutrional, form.
What Happens When You Put Plastic In The Microwave?
When many plastics are microwaved, dangerous chemicals like BPA have been known to leak out of the plastic containers, covers, and plastic wrap and be absorbed into your food.
Even back in the early 1990’s reports stated that many plastics used in microwavable food like microwave pizzas and tv dinners were leaking chemicals like polyethylene terpthalate and many other carcinogens. Although sense then people have become much
more aware of these dangers, and plastic containers are often labeled microwave safe, there are still risks of heating any food in plastic containers inside of a microwave oven, so be careful.
Instead of using plastics when microwaving food, consider using microwave safe glassware, like this set on Amazon.
Are Microwave Ovens Dangerous To Our Health?
In many of the articles here on EMF Academy, I talk about the dangers of EMF radiation from cell phones, tablets, routers and many other devices. Microwave ovens emit an enormous amount of EMF radiation. Luckily, the faraday cage style food compartment keeps most of this radiation inside, however, if you were to purchase an EMF meter, you would see that while you are cooking food there is still a lot of EMF radiation being emitted.
Many people believe that EMF radiation, since it is often not a form of ionizing (heating) radiation, that it is not harmful. However, research is increasingly showing that even this non-thermal EMF radiation can cause significant harm to your body and DNA. Hundreds of studies have shown that the health effects of EMF radiation can be profound.
Understand that whenever you use your microwave oven, you are exposing not only your food, but yourself to an enormous amount of EMF radiation. Depending on your proximity to the device, the radiation levels can be thousands of times more powerful than your cell phone or tablet. This biological damage is extremely dangerous, and should be a primary factor in removing the microwave from your home. It doesn’t matter if you’re microwaving popcorn shrimp or anything else, the radiation should be considered.
But next, let’s talk about what microwaves do to the food you cook in them.
Do Microwave Ovens Leak EMF Radiation?
We just got done talking about how the EMF radiation from your microwave is dangerous, now let’s talk a little bit about how that radiation is leaking out.
Your microwave emits two different types of EMF radiation. First, the microwave radiation that heats your food is never contained 100% by the box that you put the food in. This microwave radiation leaks out of the seals and can even get past the screen depending on the quality of the microwave. You can confirm this microwave radiation by purchasing any quality EMF meter. I would suggest the new TriField TF2 (read my review) as it’s simple to use, lasts forever, is extremely accurate, and measures all three types of EMF radiation. If you’re looking for a low cost EMF meter I really like the Meterk (read my review).
Microwaves also emit a lower frequency EMF radiation from the transformer that alternates the power to the magnetron, and microwaves don’t even attempt at shielding this. You can read my article on dirty electricity to understand a bit more about why these transformers are harmful.
This is a scary but interesting note. I have taken my EMF meter, and stood outside in the back yard of my home with the meter on, and can tell exactly when the microwave oven is turned on, just due to the immense amount of radiation emitted.
Legal Limits of EMF Radiation Leakage
In the united states and in most of Europe, there are legal limits to the amount of EMF radiation that your microwave can emit. First of all, this tells you that even manufacturers and law makers understand that these devices produce a dangerous amount of radiation. On average, these laws allow EMF radiation leakage of up to 5mW/cm² at a distance of 2 inches. This number was determined because it is not enough radiation to burn your skin, but it is more than enough radiation to do biological harm. This biological harm from non-ionizing radiation is not something that these lawmakers or manufacturers even recognize.
Many scientists and researchers believe that this legal limit could be as much as a thousand times higher than an amount that is dangerous in cases of long term exposure. If you do plan on having a microwave oven, under almost no circumstance should you watch the food cook through the small window, because the close proximity is extremely dangerous.
Remember that when it comes to EMF radiation, the inverse-square law tells us that as we double our distance from the source of EMF radiation, we quarter our exposure to it. The more distance the better. As a general rule try to stay at least 5-10 feet away from your microwave while its running.
Some microwaves may have faulty doors, which can leak radiation as well and be very unsafe. Inspect your microwave seal and latch to ensure that it is closing properly and staying closed. Microwaves are designed so that once the door is open, the magnetron stops immediately and there won’t be any residual radiation, so don’t worry about that. Only worry about the radiation when the microwave is running and the door is closed.
Using Your Microwave Less – My Tips
Hopefully, after you’ve read through this post, you’ll consider getting rid of your microwave. I think you’ll find it surprisingly easy to get on without it once you’ve eliminated it, but if you want to maintain the convenience of using it, at least consider a few of the following tips:
- Try not to overcook your food. Once all the water in the food evaporates due to the heat, the food will cook extremely rapidly and will severely damage the molecular structure of the food.
- Do not stare through the window of the microwave, and try to keep at least 5-10 feet between you and it while it’s running.
- Do your best to plan ahead, don’t use your microwave to defrost things, just set them out in the morning either on the counter or in a bowl of room temperature water, depending on how much time you have.
- Try to use a toaster oven, or steam convection oven instead of a microwave when possible.
- Try to eat less foods that require microwaving to begin with.
- Be sure to not use plastics when heating food in the microwave. Instead, use microwave safe glassware like this set on Amazon.
Ok, so now that we’ve talked about a few of the reasons that microwave ovens are dangerous, here are a few of the best things you can do to reduce your overall exposure to EMF radiation.
Basics of EMF Radiation Protection
Start by reducing the sources of EMF radiation around your home. For this, browse through a few of the following articles which will give you some excellent tips for this.
(Best Recommendation) Or, if you’re looking for an even more detailed guide I’d check out Nicolas Pineault’s “A Non-Tinfoil Guide To EMFs” (This one does cost a few dollars, but is a fantastic book)
After you’ve finished perusing through these, you should have considerable knowledge about reducing your exposure to EMF’s. If you didn’t have time to get through many of these, here are just a couple of my favorite tips:
- Turn your mobile phone off at night, or if you must use it for an alarm (i’d suggest a simple mechanical alarm clock) then at least put it in airplane mode.
- Try to get away from using WiFi in your home, and instead hook your computers up to ethernet cables.
- Get rid of your microwave.
- Protect yourself from your Smart Meter, read the article to find out more about why this is so important.
- Limit you and your families use of cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers.
- When using your cell phone, try to use speakerphone or headphones, don’t use your cellphone against your head.
There are so many more quality tips out there, so if you’re looking for some browse through the other articles on EMF Academy or consider subscribing to my mailing list.
I really hope you liked my article, “Microwave Oven Dangers: Everything You Need To Know.” If you did, please consider sharing!