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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Eating Microwaved Foods Can Cause Cancer, Infertility and Loss of Memory » Debunking the Microwave Oven Myth

What? Microwaved foods can cause cancer, brain damage, immune system deficiencies, loss of memory, emotional instability, and decrease of intelligence?

We always use microwave oven in our office for our “baon” and I’m sure you too in your own home, and if this is true then it is totally, totally scary.

Who wants to become an emotionally unstable moron with tumor because of eating microwaved food? So when Ms. Ching M. Alano, a reputable columnist in The Philippine Star suggested that it’s better to throw out those microwave ovens, I agree.

The proven dangers?

Probably you also read this article last week entitled “A burning warning on microwave ovens” [1] written (or most probably copy-pasted from the internet) by columnist Ms. Ching M. Alano in The Philippine Star, one of the leading English broadsheets in the country. Yes, it’s a reputable broadsheet, not a Tiktik tabloid. Probably the facts are checked and verified before publishing (that’s the ideal), therefore there’s a valid reason to be alarmed.

According to Ms. Alano there is a latest scientific clinical studies done by Swiss, Russian, and German experts about the dangers of microwave oven and added that there are Russian research documents written by Drs. Luria and Perov specifying their clinical experiments in this area. She mentioned Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website as the source of the information and also posted the top 10 reasons why you should throw away those microwave ovens. I posted it here for reference:

According to the article:
1. Continually eating food processed from a microwave oven causes long-term permanent brain damage by “shorting out” electrical impulses in the brain (de-polarizing or de-magnetizing the brain tissue).

2. The human body cannot metabolize (or break down) the unknown by-products created in microwaved food.

3. Male and female hormone production is shut down and/or altered by continually eating microwaved foods.

4. The effects of microwaved food by-products are residual (long term, permanent) within the human body.

5. Minerals, vitamins, and nutrients of all microwaved food are reduced or altered, so that the human body gets little or no benefit, or the human body absorbs altered compounds that cannot be broken down.

6. The minerals in vegetables are altered into cancerous free radicals when cooked in microwave ovens.

7. Microwaved foods cause stomach and intestinal cancerous growths (or tumors).

8. The prolonged eating of microwaved foods causes cancerous cells to increase in human blood.

9. Continual ingestion of microwaved food causes immune system deficiencies through lymph gland and blood serum alterations.

10. Eating microwaved food causes loss of memory, concentration, emotional instability, and a decrease of intelligence.

Wait something is wrong with that article!

My habitual impulse to alarming information like these is naturally to share it on this blog so that others may know. However, before posting, there is one factor that is a must, which is indicating clear references with respect to the reliability of who says them. That means we should not just believe in anything even if it’s from a reputable newspaper.

Naturally, I began checking the supposed sources using Google, an extraordinarily research tool, as most of us do these days. The Internet of course has its black holes – because anybody can post anything and everything on it. The challenge is to differentiate between reliable and unreliable sources.

Then to my disappointment, I found this microwaved food myth posted everywhere on the Internet like a hoax perpetrating “scare tactics” which Ms. Alano just probably copy-pasted and published on her column.

Where does this myth really came from?

The article mentioned Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website as the source so I checked it out.

According to Dr. Mercola, the Nazis are credited with inventing the first microwave-cooking device then after the World War II, the Russians retrieved some of these microwave ovens and conducted thorough research on their biological effects. Dr. Mercola concluded that the twenty-year Russian research (and German studies as far back as 1942 in Berlin) make a strong argument against the safety of microwave cooking. [2]

However, Dr. Mercola admitted that he can’t attest to the methodology or conclusions of the said research because the documents are difficult to track down. No researchers have tried to reproduce said research, and said papers were never peer-reviewed or published in any scientific journal.

My question is, why nobody, on this more-high tech world validated, repeated or conducted the said research? This is a serious claim and food and health regulatory board of every country should verify it!

The claim that giant corporations making microwave ovens are blocking the information to protect their business is absurd!

The Great Doctor against the authorities

After reading many additional articles, I found out the following information from verifiable and authoritative sources:
  • » Dr. Joseph Mercola, is a Chicago-area osteopath, selling health-care products and services, relying on slick promotion, clever use of information, and scare tactics. [3]
  • » In 2005, the FDA ordered Mercola and his Optimal Wellness Center to stop making illegal claims for products sold through his Web site. A second warning was sent in 2006 for violation of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act [4] [5]
Well I guess a professional direct marketer knows how to tap into people's fears, and in the health-care arena that isn't difficult to do.

Killing the myth : Notes from a more reliable sources

Image Source: cspinet
This is where we kill this myth. There are many organizations and individuals that provide unbiased, free of business interest and fact-based information to us, so it is always good to do extra digging. In the case of microwave ovens, I personally trust the following conclusions:

  1. When a microwave oven cooks or heats up food, it does so mainly by energizing — which is to say, heating up — water molecules, and the water energizes its molecular neighbors. So, as a general proposition, cooking with a microwave probably does a better job of preserving the nutrient content of foods because the cooking times are shorter. [6] {The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide}
  2. Microwave ovens generally do not destroy nutrients in food. [7] {The New York Times}
  3. “There is nothing solid evidence that microwaved foods cause cancer. I can honestly tell you that I have never seen a valid scientific study—and I pay attention to most of the cooking research out there—that has given us reason to test whether microwaving food could cause cancer,” says Lawrence Livermore’s Jim Felton, who is also associate director for cancer control at the Cancer Center at the University of California. [8]  That may explain why scientists haven’t spent time and money looking for a link.
  4. Accidental exposure to high levels of microwave energy can alter or kill sperm, producing temporary sterility. But these types of injuries - burns, cataracts, temporary sterility - can only be caused by exposure to large amounts of microwave radiation, much more than the 5mW limit for microwave oven leakage. [9]   
That means you have to put your testicles inside the microwave oven, turn the dials to the highest settings and leave it there for few hours.

So now what?

Unfortunately, as in all areas in life, those with no integrity mess it up for everyone else. That’s why the world needs all the millions of rules and regulations to stop the unscrupulous from harming the innocent. When the people who make the rules have no integrity, we’re really in trouble.

Instead of throwing out that microwave oven, we should just take certain COMMON SENSE precautions.

And by the way, columnists should be more careful in perpetuating myth like this on respectable broadsheets.

Hit my comments section, I need your thoughts on this.

______________________
References:
  • » [1] Alano, Ching M. “A burning warning on microwave ovens” CONSUMERLINE The Philippine Health  and Family. 25 January 2011. Section E4     Online version: {http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=651022&publicationSubCategoryId=80) (Retrieved: 01 February 2011)
  • » [2] Mercola, Joseph “Why did the Russians Ban an Appliance Found in 90% of American Homes?” 18 May 2010 http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/05/18/microwave-hazards.aspx (Retrieved: 01 February 2011)
  • » [3] Gumpert, David E. “Old-Time Sales Tricks on the Net Should a popular alternative-doctor's Web site be allowed to blur the lines between business and medicine?” 23 May006 http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/may2006/sb20060523_063274.htm (Retrieved: 01 February 2011)
  • » [4] Barrett, Stephen, M.D. “FDA Orders Dr. Joseph Mercola to Stop Illegal Claims” 23 December 2010 http://www.quackwatch.com/11Ind/mercola.html (Retrieved: 01 February 2011)
  • » [5] Albietz, Joseph. “9 Reasons to Completely Ignore Joseph Mercola” 16 October 2009 http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=2116 (Retrieved: 01 February 2011)
  • » [6] The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide “Microwave cooking and nutrition” June 2008 http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Microwave-cooking-and-nutrition.shtml (Retrieved: 01 February 2011)
  • » [7] O’Connor, Anahad “The Claim: Microwave Ovens Kill Nutrients in Food The New York Times” 17 October 2006 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/health/17real.html?_r=1 (Retrieved: 01 February 2011)
  • » [8] Schardt, David “Microwave Myth” Nutrition Action Health Letter 5 April 2000 http://www.cspinet.org/nah/04_05/microwavemyths.pdf (Retrieved: 01 February 2011)
  • » [9] FDA US Food & Drug Admin “MICROWAVE OVEN RADIATION” http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/ResourcesforYouRadiationEmittingProducts/Consumers/ucm142616.htm (Retrieved: 01 February 2011)
  • Image Source:  Persson Carl "Lunch Monkey" 2008, Oil on Canvas. Traditional Art / Paintings / Surreal http://karlpersson.deviantart.com/art/Lunch-Monkey-80229617 (Retrieved: 01 February 2011)
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About the Blogger

Yodi Insigne
Yodi de Veas Insigne is one of those delusional sorts who imagines himself a useful contributor to the greater blogosphere (Well, that's what he's trying to accomplish).

He started blogging for three reasons:

1. He always felt he has something important to say,
2. Books can make him cry,
3. He want to sleep at night.

He is a certified bookworm, travel junkie, shutterbug, movie freak, Mangyan freethinker who sleeps a lot and think a lot. He got a little vice, which is black coffee and cashew nuts. He got colorblindness on yellow and green - and he freaking loves it!

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