Is Your Microwave Safer Than Your Cell Phone?

Over 90% of American households have a microwave. The number of wireless cell phone subscribers in the USA reached 180.5 million by 2006. Power lines running across housing developments and neighborhoods continue to expose humans and their pets to elevated levels of ELF magnetic fields. How many hours a day do you work on your laptop, exposing yourself to close range radiation?

Are any of these radioactive devices safer than others? Microwaves used in microwave ovens are similar to the microwaves used in radar equipment and in telephone, television and radio communications. They are in the non-ionizing range of electromagnetic radiation, and non-ionizing radiation is very different from ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation includes the dangerous X-rays, gamma rays, and cosmic rays and is the sort of radiation associated with radioactive substances like uranium, radium, and the fall-out from atomic and thermonuclear explosions. In sufficient doses, ionizing radiation is extremely toxic, powerful and penetrating, and can cause genetic mutations. Even at low levels, ionizing radiation can damage the cells of living tissue. But again, non-ionizing radiation is what's used for microwave ovens and cellular telephone devices.

Many people are concerned with being exposed to a microwave oven's radiation. There are studies on the effects of microwave cooking that show both positive and negative effects on food, just as there are current studies on the dangerous effects of radiation from cell phones. Bottom line, you should be as concerned about microwave safety as you are about your cellular telephone device. If you give one up, then give away the other.

One of the keys to safely using manmade, radioactive devices inside your home is to learn how to safely use them. In order to learn how to use your microwave safely, let's learn more about them:

In 1946, Dr. Percy Spencer discovered the microwave oven. Dr. Spencer fashioned a metal box with an opening into which he fed microwave power. The energy entering the box was unable to escape, thereby creating a higher density electromagnetic field. When food was placed in the box and microwave energy was fed in, the temperature of the food rose very rapidly.

Housed in refrigerator-sized cabinets, the first microwave ovens cost between $2,000 and $3,000. In 1976, the microwave oven became a more commonly owned kitchen appliance than the dishwasher, used in over 52 million American households at that time. Once considered a luxury, the microwave oven has now become a practical necessity for our fast-paced world.

Microwave frequency waves are very short waves of electromagnetic energy that travel at the speed of light, 186,282 miles per second. Microwaves used in microwave ovens are in the same family of frequencies as the signals used in radio and television broadcasting. Electromagnetic waves are, in themselves, stored energy in motion.

Remember that microwave radiation used in microwave ovens is non-ionizing, and will merely cause the molecules in food to vibrate, which in turn causes friction that produces the heat to cook the food. Because of the lower frequencies and reduced energy, non-ionizing radiation does not have the same damaging and cumulative properties as ionizing radiation, which are the most damaging radioactive waves on the planet.

Just as with a cell phone or any man-made device that uses non-ionizing microwave radiation, the key to safe microwaving is to have a well-made and properly operating oven, to use the correct pans and utensils, and to practice common sense when operating your microwave device. Here are some tips on how to microwave safely:

  • Do not stand in front of your microwave while it is running, especially if pregnant.
  • Avoid using your microwave for long periods of time. For example, heat a cup of coffee or a bowl of soup for one or two minutes but avoid cooking a turkey in your microwave oven for one hour or more. In other words, use your microwave to re-heat for shorter time periods as opposed to using your microwave to cook meals that take longer time periods.
  • Never use containers in the microwave other than glass.
  • Never reheat baby bottles or baby food in a microwave.
  • Detox your body regularly when using your microwave. This helps prevent toxins from microwaved foods from accumulating inside your body.

Alternatives to using a microwave oven:

  • Heat food in a convection oven, which is merely an ordinary oven with a fan.
  • Have a toaster oven handy - food heats up quickly, inexpensively, and safer in a small countertop toaster device.
  • Heat up food, even frozen pasta, using a saucepan with a lid and a small amount of water to moisten it from the steam.
  • If someone is coming home late and will eat warm leftovers when they arrive, put a saucepan lid over the food while it is on the dinner plate. Put the plate on top of a simmering saucepan of water. It will stay warm without drying up.
  • If in the market for a new oven, purchase one with a warming drawer. This safely solves any leftover dilemmas.
  • If you have the time to cook, prepare your food the old fashioned way - it tastes much better and is more nutritious.
Don't forget about my 75/25 Eating Plan - eat 75% raw or lightly steamed foods at every meal. This is not only healthier for you for many reasons (reference for more info on my Eating Plan), but this eating plan works with no microwaving. This way you can avoid using any radiation and eat healthier, too. Plus, it sets a good example for your children to learn the healthier ways of preparing food, and how to eat a more balanced diet.

Posted March 2008 | Permanent Link

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