Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking
research shows that microwave oven-cooked food suffers severe molecular
damage. When eaten, it causes abnormal changes in human blood and immune
systems. Not surprisingly, the public has been denied details on these
significant health dangers.
from NEXUS Magazine, Volume 2, #25 (April-May '95).
microwaves heat food quickly, they are not recommended for heating a
baby's bottle," the announcement said. The bottle may seem cool to
the touch, but the liquid inside may become extremely hot and could burn
the baby's mouth and throat. Also, the buildup of steam in a closed
container such as a baby's bottle could cause it to explode.
"Heating the bottle in a microwave can cause slight changes in the
milk. In infant formulas, there may be a loss of some vitamins. In
expressed breast milk, some protective properties may be
destroyed." The report went on. "Warming a bottle by holding
it under tap water or by setting it in a bowl of warm water, then
testing it on your wrist before feeding, may take a few minutes longer,
but it is much safer."
asked himself: If an established institution like the University of
Minnesota can warn about the loss of particular nutrient qualities in
microwaved baby formula or mother's milk, then somebody must know
something about microwaving they are not telling everybody.
1991, word leaked out about a lawsuit in Oklahoma. A woman named Norma
Levitt had hip surgery, only to be killed by a simple blood transfusion
when a nurse "warmed the blood for the transfusion in a microwave
suggests that if heating or cooking is all there is to it, then it
doesn't matter what mode of heating technology one uses. However, it is
quite apparent that there is more to 'heating' with microwaves than
we've been led to believe.
for transfusions is routinely warmed-but not in microwave ovens! In the
case of Mrs. Levitt, the microwaving altered the blood and it killed
not therefore follow that this form of heating does, indeed, do
'something different' to the substances being heated? Is it not prudent
to determine what that 'something different' might do?
thing happened on the way to the bank with all that microwave oven
revenue: nobody thought about the obvious. Only 'health nuts' who are
constantly aware of the value of quality nutrition discerned a problem
with the widespread 'denaturing' of our food. Enter Hans Hertel.
tiny town of Wattenwil, near Basel in Switzerland, there lives a
scientist who is alarmed at the lack of purity and naturalness in the
many pursuits of modern mankind. He worked as a food scientist for
several years with one of the many major Swiss food companies that do
business on a global scale. A few years ago, he was fired from his job
for questioning procedures in processing food because they denatured it.
world needs our help," Hans Hertel told Tom Valentine as they
shared a fine meal at a resort hotel in Todtmoss, Germany. "We, the
scientists, carry the main responsibility for the present unacceptable
conditions. It is therefore our job to correct the situation and bring
the remedy to the world. I am striving to bring man and techniques back
into harmony with nature. We can have wonderful technologies without
an intense man, driven by personal knowledge of violations of nature by
corporate man and his state-supported monopolies in science, technology
and education. At the same time, as the two talked, his intensity
shattered into a warm smile and he spoke of the way things could be if
mankind's immense talent were to work with nature and not against her.
Hertel is the first scientist to conceive of and carry out a quality
study on the effects of microwaved nutrients on the blood and physiology
of human beings. This small but well-controlled study pointed the firm
finger at a degenerative force of microwave ovens and the food produced
in them. The conclusion was clear: microwave cooking changed the
nutrients so that changes took place in the participants' blood; these
were not healthy changes but were changes that could cause deterioration
in the human systems.
with Bernard H. Blanc of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and
the University Institute for Biochemistry, Hertel not only conceived of
the study and carried it out; he was one of eight participants.
control as many variables as possible, we selected eight individuals who
were strict macrobiotic diet participants from the Macrobiotic Institute
at Kientel, Switzerland," Hertel explained. "We were all
housed in the same hotel environment for eight weeks. There was no
smoking, no alcohol and no sex."
readily see that this protocol makes sense. After all, how could you
tell about subtle changes in a human's blood from eating microwaved food
if smoking, booze, junk food, pollution, pesticides, hormones,
antibiotics and everything else in the common environment were also
had one American, one Canadian and six Europeans in the group. I was the
oldest at 64 years, the others were in their 20s and 30s," Hertel
published the results of this study in Search for Health in the
spring of 1992. But the follow-up information is available only in a
later edition, and also in Acres, USA.
intervals of two to five days, the volunteers in the study received one
of the food variants on an empty stomach. The food variants were: raw
milk from a biofarm (no. 1); the same milk conventionally cooked (no.
2); pasteurized milk from Intermilk Berne (no. 3); the same raw milk
cooked in a microwave oven (no. 4); raw vegetables from an organic farm
(no. 5); the same vegetables cooked conventionally (no. 6); the same
vegetables frozen and defrosted in the microwave oven (no. 7); and the
same vegetables cooked in the microwave oven (no. 8). The overall
experiment had some of the earmarks of the Pottenger cat studies, except
that now human beings were test objects, the experiment's time frame was
shorter, and a new heat form was tested.
volunteers were isolated at the resort hotel, the test began. Blood
samples were taken from every volunteer immediately before eating. Then
blood samples were taken at defined intervals after eating from the
above-numbered milk or vegetable preparations.
changes were discovered in the blood of the volunteers who consumed
foods cooked in the microwave oven. These changes included a decrease in
all hemoglobin values and cholesterol values, especially the HDL (good
cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) values and ratio. Lymphocytes
(white blood cells) showed a more distinct short-term decrease following
the intake of microwaved food than after the intake of all the other
variants. Each of these indicators point in a direction away from robust
health and toward degeneration. Additionally, there was a highly
significant association between the amount of microwave energy in the
test foods and the luminous power of luminescent bacteria exposed to
serum from test persons who ate that food. This led Hertel to the
conclusion that such technically derived energies may, indeed, be passed
along to man inductively via consumption of microwaved food.
process is based on physical principles and has already been confirmed
in the literature," Hertel explained. The apparent additional
energy exhibited by the luminescent bacteria was merely extra
is extensive scientific literature concerning the hazardous effects of
direct microwave radiation on living systems," Hertel continued.
"It is astonishing, therefore, to realize how little effort has
been made to replace this detrimental technique of microwaves with
technology more in accordance with nature.
produced microwaves are based on the principle of alternating current.
Atoms, molecules and cells hit by this hard electromagnetic radiation
are forced to reverse polarity 1 to 100 billion times a second. There
are no atoms, molecules or cells of any organic system able to withstand
such a violent, destructive power for any extended period of time, not
even in the low energy range of milliwatts.
all the natural substances-which are polar-the oxygen of water molecules
reacts most sensitively. This is how microwave-cooking heat is
generated-friction from this violence in water molecules. Structures of
molecules are torn apart, molecules are forcefully deformed (called
structural isomerism) and thus become impaired in quality.
is contrary to conventional heating of food, in which heat transfers
conventionally from without to within. Cooking by microwaves begins
within the cells and molecules where water is present and where the
energy is transformed into frictional heat."
question naturally arises: What about microwaves from the sun? Aren't
responded: "The microwaves from the Sun are based on principles of
pulsed direct current. These rays create no frictional heat in organic
addition to violent frictional heat effects (called thermic effects),
there are also athermic effects which have hardly ever been taken into
account, Hertel added.
athermic effects are not presently measurable, but they can also deform
the structures of molecules and have qualitative consequences. For
example, the weakening of cell membranes by microwaves is used in the
field of gene altering technology. Because of the force involved, the
cells are actually broken, thereby neutralizing the electrical
potentials-the very life of the cells-between the outer and inner sides
of the cell membranes. Impaired cells become easy prey for viruses,
fungi and other micro-organisms. The natural repair mechanisms are
suppressed, and cells are forced to adapt to a state of energy
emergency: they switch from aerobic to anaerobic respiration. Instead of
water and carbon dioxide, hydrogen peroxide and carbon monoxide are
long been pointed out in the literature that any reversal of healthy
cell processes may occur because of a number of reasons, and our cells
then revert from a "robust oxidation" to an unhealthy
violent friction and athermic deformations that can occur in our bodies
when we are subjected to radar or microwaves, happens to the molecules
in the food cooked in a microwave oven. In fact, when anyone microwaves
food, the oven exerts a power input of about 1,000 watts or more. This
radiation results in destruction and deformation of molecules of food,
and in the formation of new compounds (called radiovoltic compounds)
unknown to man and nature.
established science and technology argues forcefully that microwaved
food and irradiated foods do not have any significantly higher "radiovoltic
compounds" than do broiled, baked or other conventionally cooked
foods-but microwaving does produce more of these critters. Curiously,
neither established science nor our ever-protective government has
conducted tests-on the blood of the eaters-of the effects of eating
various kinds of cooked foods. Hertel and his group did test it, and the
indication is clear that something is amiss and that larger studies
should be funded. The apparently toxic effects of microwave cooking is
another in a long list of unnatural additives in our daily diets.
However, the establishment has not taken kindly to this work.
first drawing of blood samples took place on an empty stomach at 7.45
each morning," Hertel explained. "The second drawing of blood
took place 15 minutes after the food intake. The third drawing was two
each sample, 50 milliliters of blood was used for the chemistry and five
millimeters for the hematology and the luminescence. The hematological
examinations took place immediately after drawing the samples.
Erythrocytes, hemoglobin, mean hemoglobin concentration, mean hemoglobin
content, leukocytes and lymphocytes were measured. The chemical analysis
consisted of iron, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and LDL
results of erythrocyte, hemoglobin, hematocrit and leukocyte
determinations were at the "lower limits of normal" in those
tested following the eating of the microwaved samples.
results show anemic tendencies. The situation became even more
pronounced during the second month of the study," Hertel added.
"And with those decreasing values, there was a corresponding
increase of cholesterol values."
admits that stress factors, from getting punctured for the blood samples
so often each day, for example, cannot be ruled out, but the established
baseline for each individual became the "zero values" marker,
and only changes from the zero values were statistically determined.
only one round of test substances completed, the different effects
between conventionally prepared food and microwaved food were
marginal-although noticed as definite "tendencies". As the
test continued, the differences in the blood markers became
"statistically significant". The changes are generally
considered to be signs of stress on the body. For example, erythrocytes
tended to increase after eating vegetables from the microwave oven.
Hemoglobin and both of the mean concentration and content hemoglobin
markers also tended to decrease significantly after eating the
Hertel explained, "which cannot be accounted for by normal daily
deviations such as following the intake of food, is taken seriously by
hematologists. Leukocyte response is especially sensitive to stress.
They are often signs of pathogenic effects on the living system, such as
poisoning and cell damage. The increase of leukocytes with the
microwaved foods was more pronounced than with all the other variants.
It appears that these marked increases were caused entirely by ingesting
the microwaved substances."
cholesterol markers were very interesting, Hertel stressed:
scientific belief states that cholesterol values usually alter slowly
over longer periods of time. In this study, the markers increased
rapidly after the consumption of the microwaved vegetables. However,
with milk, the cholesterol values remained the same and even decreased
with the raw milk significantly."
believes his study tends to confirm newer scientific data that suggest
cholesterol may rapidly increase in the blood secondary to acute stress.
"Also," he added, "blood cholesterol levels are less
influenced by cholesterol content of food than by stress factors. Such
stress-causing factors can apparently consist of foods which contain
virtually no cholesterol-the microwaved vegetables."
plain to see that this individually financed and conducted study has
enough meat in it to make anyone with a modicum of common sense sit up
and take notice. Food from the microwave oven caused abnormal changes,
representing stress, to occur in the blood of all the test individuals.
Biological individuality, a key variable that makes a mockery of many
allegedly scientific studies, was well accounted for by the established
has the brilliant world of modern technology, medicine and 'protect the
public' government reacted to this impressive effort?
as Hertel and Blanc announced their results, the hammer of authority
slammed down on them. A powerful trade organization, the Swiss
Association of Dealers for Electro-apparatus for Households and
Industry, known simply as FEA, struck swiftly. They forced the President
of the Court of Seftigen, Kanton Bern, to issue a 'gag order' against
Hertel and Blanc. The attack was so ferocious that Blanc quickly
recanted his support-but it was too late. He had already put into
writing his views on the validity of the studies where he concurred with
the opinion that microwaved food caused the blood abnormalities.
stood his ground, and today is steadfastly demanding his rights to a
trial. Preliminary hearings on the matter have been appealed to higher
courts, and it's quite obvious the powers that be do not want a 'show
trial' to erupt on this issue.
1993, the court handed down this decision based upon the complaint of
Request from the plaintiff (FEA) to prohibit the defendant (Dr
Ing. Hans Hertel) from declaring that food prepared in the microwave
oven shall be dangerous to health and lead to changes in the blood of
consumers, giving reference to pathologic troubles as also indicative
for the beginning of a cancerous process. The defendant shall be
prohibited from repeating such a statement in publications and in public
talks by punishment laid down in the law.
The jurisdiction of the judge is given according to law.
The active legitimacy of the plaintiff is given according to the
The passive legitimacy of the defendant is given by the fact that
he is the author of the polemic [published study] in question,
especially since the present new and revised law allows to exclude the
necessity of a competitive situation, therefore delinquents may also be
persons who are not co-competitors, but may damage the competing
position of others by mere declarations.
Swiss corporations have lobbied in a law that nails
"delinquents" who disparage products and might do damage to
commerce by such remarks. So far, the US Constitution still preserves
freedom of the press.]
Considering the relevant situation it is referred to three
publications: the public renunciation [sic] of the so-called co-author
Professor Bernard Blanc, the expertise of Professor Teuber [expert
witness from the FEA] about the above-mentioned publication, the opinion
of the public health authorities with regard to the present stage of
research with microwave ovens as well as to repeated statements from the
side of the defendant about the danger of such ovens.
It is not considered of importance whether or not the polemic of
the defendant meets the approval of the public, because all that is
necessary is that a possibility exists that such a statement could find
approval with people not being experts themselves. Also, advertising
involving fear is not allowed and is always disqualified by the law. The
necessity for a fast interference is in no case more advised than in the
processes of competition. Basically, the defendant has the right to
defend himself against such accusations. This right, however, can be
denied in cases of pressing danger with regard to impairing the rights
of the plaintiff when this is requested.
grounds of this pending request of the plaintiff, the court arrives at
the conclusion that because of special presuppositions as in this case,
a definite disadvantage for the plaintiff does exist, which may not
easily be repaired, and therefore must be considered to be of immediate
danger. The case thus warrants the request of the plaintiff to be
justified, even without hearing the defendant. Also, because it is not
known when the defendant will bring further statements into the public.
judge is also of the opinion that because the publications are made up
to appear as scientific, and therefore especially reliable-looking, they
may cause additional bad disadvantages. It must be added that there does
obviously not exist a just reason for this publication because there is
no public interest for pseudo-scientific unproved declarations. Finally,
these ordered measures do not prove to be disproportionate.
defendant is prohibited, under punishment of up to F 5,000, or up to one
year in prison, to declare that food prepared in microwave ovens is
dangerous to health and leads to pathologic troubles as also indicative
for the beginning of a cancerous process.
plaintiff pays the costs.
President of the Court of Seftigen Kraemer."
cannot imagine this kind of decision coming from a court in the United
States, you have not been paying attention to the advances of
defied the court and has loudly demanded a fair hearing on the truth of
his claims. The court has continued to delay, dodge, appeal and avoid
any media-catching confrontation. As of this writing, Hans is still
waiting for a hearing with media coverage-and he's still talking and
publishing his findings.
have not been able to intimidate me into silence, and I will not accept
their conditions," Hertel declared. "I have appeared at large
seminars in Germany, and the study results have been well-received.
Also, I think the authorities are aware that scientists at Ciba-Geigy
[the world's largest pharmaceutical company, headquartered in
Switzerland] have vowed to support me in court."
powerful special interests in Switzerland who desire to sell microwave
ovens by the millions continued to suppress open debate on this vital
issue for modern civilization, new microwave developments blossomed in
the United States.
journal Pediatrics (vol. 89, no. 4, April 1992), there appeared
an article titled, "Effects of Microwave Radiation on
Anti-infective Factors in Human Milk". Richard Quan, M.D. from
Dallas, Texas, was the lead name of the study team. John A. Kerner,
M.D., from Stanford University, was also on the research team, and he
was quoted in a summary article on the research that appeared in the 25
April 1992 issue of Science News. To get the full flavor of what
may lie ahead for microwaving, here is that summary article:
who work outside the home can express and store breast milk for feedings
when they are away. But parents and caregivers should be careful how
they warm this milk. A new study shows that microwaving human milk-even
at a low setting-can destroy some of its important disease-fighting
milk can be refrigerated safely for a few days or frozen for up to a
month; however, studies have shown that heating the milk well above body
temperature-37°C -can break down not only its antibodies to infectious
agents, but also its lysozymes or bacteria-digesting enzymes. So, when
pediatrician John A. Kerner, Jr., witnessed neonatal nurses routinely
thawing or reheating breast milk with the microwave oven in their
lounge, he became concerned.
the April 1992 issue of Pediatrics (Part I), he and his Stanford
University co-workers reported finding that unheated breast milk that
was microwaved lost lysozyme activity, antibodies and fostered the
growth of more potentially pathogenic bacteria. Milk heated at a high
setting (72°C to 98°C) lost 96 per cent of its immunoglobulin-A
antibodies, agents that fend off invading microbes.
really surprised him, Kerner said, was finding some loss of
anti-infective properties in the milk microwaved at a low setting-and to
a mean of just 33.5°C. Adverse changes at such low temperatures suggest
'microwaving itself may in fact cause some injury to the milk above
and beyond the heating'.
Randall M. Goldblum of the University of Texas Medical Branch in
Galveston disagrees, saying: 'I don't see any compelling evidence
that the microwaves did any harm. It was the heating.' Lysozyme and
antibody degradation in the coolest samples may simply reflect the
development of small hot spots-potentially 60°C or above-during
microwaving, noted Madeleine Sigman-Grant of Pennsylvania State
University, University Park. And that's to be expected, she said,
because microwave heating is inherently uneven-and quite unpredictable
when volumes less than four milliliters are involved, as was the case in
the Kerner's study.
considers use of a microwave to thaw milk an especially bad idea, since
it is likely to boil some of the milk before all has even liquefied.
Stanford University Medical Center no longer microwaves breast milk,
Kerner notes. And that's appropriate, Sigman-Grant believes, because of
the small volumes of milk that hospitals typically serve
newborns-especially premature infants."
Tom Valentine, after chasing this story, found it interesting that
'scientists' have so many 'beliefs' to express rather than prove fact.
Yet facts eventually snuff out credential-based conjecture.
Quan, in a phone interview, said that he believed the results of
research so far warranted further detailed study of the effects of
microwave cooking on nutrients. The summary sentence in an abstract of
the research paper is very clear:
appears to be contra-indicated at high temperatures, and questions
regarding its safety exist even at low temperatures."
final statement of the study conclusion reads:
preliminary study suggests that microwaving human milk could be
detrimental. Further studies are needed to determine whether and how
microwaving could safely be done."
further studies are not scheduled at this time.
are so many indications that the effects of microwaves on foods can
degrade the foods far above the known breakdowns of standard cooking, is
it not reasonable to conduct exhaustive studies on living, breathing
human beings to determine if it's possible that eating microwaved foods
continuously, as many people do, can be significantly detrimental to
wanted to introduce an herbal supplement into the American mainstream
and make any health claims for it, you would be subjected to exhaustive
documentation and costly research. Yet the microwave-oven industry had
only to prove that the dangerous microwaves could, indeed, be contained
within the oven and not escape into the surrounding area where the
radiation could do damage to people. The industry must admit that some
microwaves escape even in the best-made ovens. So far, not one thought
has been given by the industry to the possibility that the nutrients
could be so altered as to be deleterious to health.
this makes sense in a land that encourages farmers to poison crops and
soils with massive amounts of synthesized chemicals, and encourages food
processors to use additives that enhance shelf-life of foods regardless
of the potential for degrading the health of the consumer.
hundreds of pounds of microwaved food per capita are consumed in America
each year? Are we going to continue to take it from established
authority, without question, on the premise that they know best?
Oven Radiation Leakage
there a danger to prolonged exposure to microwave radiation?
headaches and dizziness
temporary sterility in men
central nervous system
interference with some
decrease in immune system
vulnerable to excessive microwave radiation is the developing fetus. The
lens of the eye and the testes are also vulnerable because of the body's
inability to cool down these areas. Recent
research shows that food cooked in a microwave oven undergoes severe
molecular damage, but these details are not publicly known. When eaten,
the microwaved food causes abnormal changes in human blood and immune
systems. Significant changes were discovered in the blood of volunteers
who consumed foods cooked in a microwave oven. These changes included a
decrease in all hemoglobin values and cholesterol values. Lymphocytes
(white blood cells) showed a more distinct short-term decrease following
intake of microwaved food.
number of warnings have been made public. For example, The University of
Minnesota has stated that: "...Heating (a baby's bottle) in a
microwave can cause slight changes in the milk. In infant formulas,
there may be a loss of some vitamins. In expressed breast milk, some
protective properties may be destroyed". Furthermore, a lawsuit in
1991 attempted to obtain compensation for the family of a woman who died
after the blood being used for a transfusion was heated in a microwave.
tips for reducing the risks associated with microwave radiation
wear and tear, excessive slamming of the oven door, or food particles in
the hinges and seals could cause an oven to leak hazardous levels of
radiation. Leaks can be caused by:
Slamming the oven door
Letting spills and food
particles build up in and around the door seals
Moving the oven around
Accidentally dropping the
Normal wear and tear
are inexpensive products available in most hardware stores used to test
for hazardous leaks. If you do have a dangerous leak, you should not use
the microwave oven until it is properly repaired.
Safety: Ovens are increasingly
coming with a child lock, which prevents the oven from being used until
a sequence of commands is entered. The child lock is intended to prevent
children from starting the oven thereby reducing the potential for
children to harm themselves (or pets!), but just as importantly, to stop
them from activating the oven when there's no food in it.
This can sometimes happen when water is heated past its boiling point
without forming any bubbles. When the cup is moved or touched it can
'explode' into steam and cause scalding. One way of preventing
superheating is to leave a teaspoon (metal is OK) or wooden skewer in
the cup during cooking (this gives the bubbles something to form
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