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Think twice when using your microwave oven

Back in May of 1989, after Tom Valentine first moved to St Paul, Minnesota, he heard on the car radio a short announcement that bolted him upright in the driver's seat. The announcement was sponsored by Young Families, the Minnesota Extension Service of the University of Minnesota:

 

"Although 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."

 

Valentine 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.

MicrowaveA LAWSUIT

In early 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 oven"!
Logic 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.
Blood for transfusions is routinely warmed-but not in microwave ovens! In the case of Mrs Levitt, the microwaving altered the blood and it killed her.

HANS HERTEL

In the 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...
...Hans 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.

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.

Working 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.
"To 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.
"One can 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 present?
"We 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 added. Valentine published the results of this study in Search for Health in the Spring of 1992.
In 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);
The same vegetables cooked in the microwave oven (no. 8).

....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. Significant 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.
"This 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 confirmation."There 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.
"Technically 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.
"Of 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.


HEATING FOOD

"This is contrary to conventional heating of food, in which heat transfers convectionally 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. "The question naturally arises: What about microwaves from the sun? Aren't they harmful?
Hertel responded: "The microwaves from the Sun are based on principles of pulsed direct current. These rays create no frictional heat in organic substance."In addition to violent frictional heat effects (called thermic effects), there are also athermic effects which have hardly ever been taken into account, Hertel added.
"These 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 microorganisms. 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 produced.
"It has 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 "fermentation".
The same 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 radiolytic compounds) unknown to man and nature.

Today's established science and technology argues forcefully that microwaved food and irradiated foods do not have any significantly higher "radiolytic compounds" than do broiled, baked or other conventionally cooked foods-but microwaving does produce more of these critters.
Curiously, neither established science nor our 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."The 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 hours later.
"From each sample, 50 millilitres 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 cholesterol. The 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. "These 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. "Hertel 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. With 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 microwaved substances.


INFANT DANGER

In the 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:

"Women 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 capabilities.
"Breast 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. "In the April 1992 issue of Pediatrics (Part I), he and his Stanford University coworkers 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."What 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'."

But 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 millilitres are involved, as was the case in the Kerner's study.
"Goldblum 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."