Is Standing in Front of a Microwave Oven Dangerous? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-06-2008, 12:12 AM
 
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The thing about Russia banning microwave ovens reminded me that Cuba banned cellphones until recently.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:18 AM
 
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I never have time to read through these threads, but we do not ever use microwaves. They are not safe by any stretch. Heres some good info, http://www.mercola.com/article/microwave/hazards.htm .
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Old 04-06-2008, 01:02 AM
 
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More fun:

From: Consumer Reports on Health; Oct2006, Vol. 18 Issue 10, p7-7, 2/3p, 1c
Quote:
Abstract:
The article presents information on microwave safety. Microwave foods may not loose its vitamins and minerals once it is cooked in the microwave oven. Heating of water in a microwave will most likely cause injuries when heated past its boiling point and erupted from its cup. There is no truth in microwaving with plastic releases cancer-causing dioxins into food. It is true that microwaves can leak radiation when operating on a microwave with a door broken.
From:Australian Nursing Journal Oct2001, Vol. 9 Issue 4, p35
Quote:
IV FLUIDS AND MICROWAVES OVEN SAFETY
The increased output of modem microwave ovens can lead to overheating of resuscitation fluids, with potentially serious results, according to research carried out in NSW.
Dr Anthony Delaney, from Gosford Hospital emergency department, carried out the research to determine whether the practice of heating fluids using microwave ovens advocated in a number of texts and journals - was safe.
In Dr Delaney's study, reported in Emergency Medicine, five one litre bags of normal saline were heated for two minutes at a high setting in 16 different microwave ovens with output power in the range 650-1000 watts.
The initial and final temperatures were recorded, accessing the centre of the fluid via the bag's injection port.
In over half of the microwaves tested (56&#37 the fluid reached an average final temperature greater than 42 Celsius - greater than the recommended maximum temperature for the heating of intravenous fluids.
From: J Microw Power. Volume: 13, Issue: 1, Date: 1978 Mar , Pages: 3-26 (Note: this was written shortly after the ban in the then USSR.)
Quote:
The microwave leakage from current microwave ovens, which are manufactured to meet government emission standards, is reviewed. Typical leakage values imply exposure values well below the most conservative exposure standards in the world. A review of recent developments discloses increasingly stringent government regulation along with advances in techniques for suppression of microwave leakage. The nature of the leakage field is described and studies relating emission to exposure are reviewed. Field survey data are reviewed and it is found that the overwhelming majority of certified ovens in the field show leakage well below permissible limits with an increasing degree of certainty as time goes on. The conclusion is that microwave ovens are not only just as safe as they were in 1973 but they are being accepted as safe under essentially equivalent emission regulations in various countries including those in Eastern Europe.
From: Biomed Tech (Berl). Volume: 38, Issue: 1-2, Date: 1993 1 , Pages: 17-20
Quote:
Abstract To clarify the question as to whether microwave ovens represent a risk for the eyes, a worst-case situation was investigated in which it was assumed that a child observes the internal heating process with its eyes as close to the door of a microwave oven as it is possible to get. As expected, heating of the eyes was observed, which, however, was caused mainly by the conventional heating process rather than by microwave radiation. Significant microwave heating was observed only when increased scattered radiation was simulated by inactivating the safety contacts and opening the door of the microwave oven. When the door is opened to a clearly visible gap width (2.3 cm), the contribution of the microwave component to the overall temperature increase of 5 degrees C after one hour of continuous exposure did not exceed 16%. Even at the maximum possible door gap width which just did not cause the oven to switch off automatically (2.6 cm), 15 minutes of continuous exposure contributed only 50% to the 2 degrees C temperature increase. On the basis of these results, damage to the eye through the use of microwave ovens can be excluded.
From: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 27 (2): 153-157 APR 1992
Quote:
Abstract: The core temperature of a sample of mashed potato with a high ionic content of added salt, potassium chloride, ammonium chloride, monosodium glutamate, sodium citrate, sodium nitrite, potassium nitrate, or D-lysine increased much less when heated in a microwave oven than did that containing sucrose, glucose, aspartate, glutamine, or no added salts. This is interpreted as being due to a decreased penetration of the microwaves into the food. The technique, its relevance to reheating of manufactured food, and the possible consequential effect of added salt on reduced bacterial kill are discussed.
(Not really relevant, but I thought it was interesting that salty food doesn't cook as well in microwaves.)

J Food Prot. Volume: 61, Issue: 11, Date: 1998 Nov , Pages: 1465-9 found that microwave ovens may not safely cook raw chicken:
Quote:
Factors such as wattage, cavity size, and the presence or absence of a turntable seemingly did not play a significant role in the survival of Listeria spp. in microwave-cooked chicken. However, the general inability of microwave ovens to uniformly heat chicken carcasses was noted. In order to promote greater safety of microwave-cooked foods, general recommendations for consumers are provided.
From: Pediatrics. Volume: 91, Issue: 2, Date: 1993 Feb , Pages: 344-9 (Note, this is not relevant to this thread, but I thought it was interesting.)
Quote:
Abstract: To identify the incidence, type, and severity of burns associated with microwave oven (MW) use and to compare MW-associated burns with those associated with use of conventional stoves, we conducted a review of a national data base. Data were obtained from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission Injury Information Clearinghouse for 1986 through 1990 concerning burn injuries to children (0 to 19 years). There were an estimated 5160 burns associated with MW use. The mean age was 7.6 years (median, 6 years); 25% of burns were to children younger than 36 months old. Fifty-eight percent involved females. Most MW burns were scalds (95%); 16% of these scalds were from exploding eggs or other food. No MW burn involved a body surface area greater than 25% and no patient required hospital admission. Microwave oven burns were compared with stove burns. There were an estimated 41198 stove-associated burns to children. The mean age was 5.8 years; the median was 3 years. Forty-five percent of burns were to children younger than 36 months old; 55% were to males. Most stove burns (74%) were thermal; 7% involved a body surface area greater than 25%. Five percent of children with stove burns required hospital admission. We conclude that (1) burns to children associated with MW use are less frequent and less severe than stove burns; (2) MW burns predominantly affect females; and (3) burn prevention efforts should emphasize the hazards of stoves, which vastly exceed those of MWs.
So far, no articles about microwaves and damage to any foods except the already referenced breastmilk heating problems.

Lots and lots of articles about using microwave ovens to replace conventional heating sources in scientific experiments (note, since they are replacing conventional heating sources, the effects listed in the example article abstract below were desired and occurred with other heating methods, that is it is a property of heating not a property of microwave cooking):
Quote:
Citation: Int J Pept Protein Res. Volume: 30, Issue: 4, Date: 1987 Oct , Pages: 572-6
Year: 1987
Abstract: A rapid heating method of hydrolysis by the use of microwave oven has been applied to amino acid analysis of proteins and peptides. This convenient method has been compared with the conventional 6 N HCl hydrolysis at 110 degrees for 24 h. The advantages of this new method are its expedition and the accurate and comparable results as compared to the tedious conventional technique. The method provides a rapid processing of multiple samples within minutes instead of days and inexpensive access to the important data of amino acid compositions of proteins by the commonly used microwave oven. The necessary change in the design of hydrolysis vials and the safety precautions accompanying this novel use of microwave acid-digestion method are also described.

The more I read the less this
Quote:
It's bad enough that many babies are not nursed, but now they are given fake milk (baby formula) made even more toxic via microwaving.
sounds like something that would appear in the Lancet. (Questioning the quotation on Mercola's website, not my2elliots's quotation from Mercola's website.)
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by my2elliots View Post
I know americans love their microwaves but in Europe they are banned bc they know it's harmful. Microwaves are actually banned in many countries!
Do you have any links to back this up? I live in Europe, in the last 1.5 years I've been in 5 different European countries, I've NEVER heard of microwaves being banned, microwaves are very, very common here: almost everyone (well, every household) has one.
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Old 04-06-2008, 11:08 AM
 
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Ive never been told not to, but for my first, i was really careful about it. with my second it was impossible to avoid without staying out of the kitchen permanently. i tried to hide with the freezer door open and stuff when other people were in there.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Just_Isabel View Post
Do you have any links to back this up? I live in Europe, in the last 1.5 years I've been in 5 different European countries, I've NEVER heard of microwaves being banned, microwaves are very, very common here: almost everyone (well, every household) has one.
Russia, then the USSR, banned them in 1976.

And Cuba also banned them for awhile.

Of course, considering the bans Cuba had on cellphones, pressure cookers, tourist hotels, car rentals, computers, electric bicycles, and DVD players, I'm a bit skeptical as to whether the Russian ban had anything to do with safety.
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Old 04-06-2008, 01:40 PM
 
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I'm not sure if this has been pointed out yet or not, but microwaves use NON-IONIZING radiation which is volumes different than IONIZING radiation (aka what causes cancer, what is in x-rays, etc).

Using the term "radiation" to scare people shows either ignorance on the subject or purposeful subterfuge to cause alarm where none is merited. (speaking of Mercola, etc)

And again, MY family has done the "water test" both on living plants and on seeds and neither showed any difference between tap, microwave and stove heated (all cooled before applying of course).
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Old 04-06-2008, 05:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Russia, then the USSR, banned them in 1976.
But that is not the same as "many countries" or "in Europe" (saying that something is banned "in Europe" implies that that is the case in most, if not all, of Europe). I was hoping that My2elliots would back up her claims.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NatureMama3 View Post
Using the term "radiation" to scare people shows either ignorance on the subject or purposeful subterfuge to cause alarm where none is merited. (speaking of Mercola, etc)
I see your point, but it is electromagnetic radiation, so calling it that isn't wrong.
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Old 04-06-2008, 06:36 PM
 
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I was just checking my2elliots's procedures because the Snopes people said they'd done the same experiment with different results. When two people claim different results for the same experiment, there's a chance that something was different between the two experiments.
The one experiment was of *two* plants. One died, it happened to be the microwaved water one.

Snopes repeated it with a larger sample of plants, and found no difference.

Small sample size will kick you in the butt every time. That's why the whole "Oh, I was bottlefed/not seatbelted/fed rat poison and I was fine!" thing is, while personally valid, not applicable to whole populations.

savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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Old 04-06-2008, 06:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by my2elliots View Post
Using Microwaved water on plants always kills the plant.. I did that experience several times in highschool and each time th eplant dies within a week. .
That's quickly verifiable as false, just by the number of people you can find online replicating that experiment and showing no difference.

savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).

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Old 04-06-2008, 06:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Just_Isabel View Post
I see your point, but it is electromagnetic radiation, so calling it that isn't wrong.
But using it in a manner intended to be frightening shows a certain lack of ethical principles.

For instance, claiming that microwave radiation can cause cancer and not clarifying that it's a possible risk with all electromagnetic radiation is a pretty clearly just a scare tactic designed to try to trick people into thinking microwave radiation is related to ionizing radiation like x-rays and the like.

Radiation is an accurate term, but one that can easily be misleading.
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:01 PM
 
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I get that.
I haven't read the mercola article.
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Just_Isabel View Post
I get that.
I haven't read the mercola article.
It's pretty funny. As I mention above, I'm especially amused by the sort of language that Mercola is claiming came from reputable research sources.

If an educated person who is putting themselves forward as an authority can't even be bothered to use academic language I have to wonder how much attention they gave their research and results.
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Old 04-06-2008, 07:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
If an educated person who is putting themselves forward as an authority can't even be bothered to use academic language I have to wonder how much attention they gave their research and results.
Oh, like when people give you medical advice and then use mg as milligram OR microgram?
I totally agree with you. I think it is very important to use exact language in science, and if the intended audience are people without a scientific background, words that are used differently in everyday language than in a scientific context should be defined in the text to avoid unnecessary confusion and misinterpretation.
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