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Blog Posted in avatar   Andorina Halls's Blog

Microwave ovens: Corporate interests vs. your safety?

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By Andorina Halls
Posted Oct 11, 2012 in Health
Not long ago, I stopped using microwave ovens. Invented by the Nazis, their medical research on microwaves was discovered by the Allies after WWII. The technology was patented in the US in 1946 by Raytheon Corporation, who introduced the first microwave ovens in 1954. In 1976, they were banned by the Soviet Union, although after Perestroika, the ban was removed. Still, amidst any controversy, microwave ovens remain in use everywhere today, and most people never question their safety. I'm not so sure.
"Cigarettes are good for you." I wonder how many nay-sayers felt marginalized back in the day, when they voiced the truth of their intuition, that cigarettes just could not be good for you. "Shut up and light up. The authorities wouldn't lie to us," the doctor would say, a smoke dangling from his lips, ashes flicked to the floor, as he examined your throat.
Big business lies when there's a buck to be made, and it's always been like that. Sometimes they don't actually state their lies, they just omit telling the truth. So I wonder about the "interests" at work. Our passive-aggressive government puts warnings about the health risks of smoking on cigarette packages, yet reaps huge tax benefits from their sales. These tax funds go into the void of "general revenues", and not into a kitty targeted directly at health-related costs incurred by smokers. Not where its use can be measured.
If you believe the messages from mainstream media and disease charities, it would appear that every cancer results from smoking. Alright, but why is there no mention of our off-gassing carpets and flooring, our non-stick frying pans, the xeno-estrogenic and toxic chemicals found in our drinking water, the chemically-destroyed soil that grows our food, the toxicity of our factory-farmed meats, the industry-created air pollution?
So although smoking is bad for you, what is omitted are findings and statements regarding cancers caused by corporate interests outside Big Tobacco. Why? It's well known that cancer and disease non-profits often allow strong representation on their boards of directors by disease-causing industries, as if to allow industry influence to affect their message to the public. Sins of omission. I wonder what's been omitted from public discourse on microwave use.
Here's an excerpt from an article explaining the findings of Soviet research on microwave ovens in 1976 (see article) :
• 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).
Years ago, I had a friend who refused to use the built-in microwave oven that had come with her lovely condo. Fine, I thought, this is inconvenient, but I'll just go with it while I'm visiting. She was a highly-skilled and educated medical professional, whose job was very concerned with human blood. But she was downright shrill when expounding on how food didn't just get hot in the microwave, but its molecular structure was altered, changed to something foreign, unrecognized by the human body. Microwaved food looked the same, smelled the same, tasted (almost) the same, but was no longer the same...
Flash forward twenty years, I've done enough research to satisfy myself, and it's now been at least four years since I've used a microwave oven. We gave ours away the last time we moved.
Regardless of what you think about "changes in molecular structure", one point that can no longer be denied is that zapping your food in plastic is most definitely spiking your food with toxins from that plastic. You'd have to live under a rock to be unaware of that fact.
In the early '90s, another study was done in Switzerland, that found that "food from the microwave oven caused abnormal changes, representing stress, to occur in the blood of tested individuals". (More info on studies by Drs. Hertel and Blanc.)
But reaction by the Swiss government was swift — and not in the interests of the public. A "gag order" was issued to shut up the scientists, similar to what had happened to a European scientist, who years ago, had linked cell phone use to brain and salivary gland tumours found in close proximity to where the subjects usually held their cell phones. He was handily shut down by government and big-cellphone industry powers. (For info on cell risks, read this.)
The Swiss court ultimately ruled that studies questioning the safety of microwave oven use would "disparage products and might do damage to commerce by such remarks". Well, duh.
There you have it. It's fear of "damage to commerce", resulting from the action of an informed public, that prevents government regulatory bodies and scientists from any further study or mention of potential health risks. Big Bucks win again.
So in the absence of more studies, I for one have decided to err on the side of caution. I don't use a microwave. I warm up my leftovers the good old-fashioned way.
But here's another important point: I look at it as another way I can "give the finger" to the fast-food industry. Yes, I'm sure that all methods of heating food must create some molecular degradation, but maybe it's a matter of degree. We cannot deny that disease is on the rise with the faster pace of our lives. Correlation or coincidence? Is doing everything faster in our best interests?
So much of industry's influence around us attempts to take us further away from traditional methods we know work safely, and closer to adopting behaviours and habits that really only benefit them. It isn't just about what we consume; it's also about how we choose to be.
I look at it this way: this is my own anti-fast-food movement. It means I must put more thought and time into my food preparation. Think about it. Just how did you become convinced that your life must run at break-neck speed, giving you only the time for nutritionally bereft, zapped "food"? When did you give up traditionally cooked, sit-down meals?
Yeah, we're all busy, but if we don't have the time to think about how we feed ourselves, then maybe we've allowed outside interests to warp our priorities. Maybe more than our methods of food preparation need to be examined.

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