Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking
Recent 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.
NEXUS Magazine, Volume 2, #25 (April-May '95).
Originally printed from the April 1994 edition of Acres, USA.
PO Box 8800, Metairie, Louisiana, 70011 USA
Telephone: (504) 889 2100; Fax: (504) 889 2777
"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.
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.
Does it 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?
A funny 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.
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.
"The 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 violating
Hans is 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.
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. 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.
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
"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. But the follow-up information is available
only in a later edition, and also in Acres,
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); 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.
Once the 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.
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
"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
"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.
"This 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."
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 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
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
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 radiovoltic compounds) unknown to man
Today's 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.
"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 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 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.
"Leukocytosis," 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
The cholesterol markers were very interesting, Hertel
"Common 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."
Hertel 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."
It is 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 baselines.
So, how has the brilliant world of modern technology,
medicine and 'protect the public' government reacted to this impressive
As soon 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
Hertel 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.
In March 1993, the court handed down this decision based
upon the complaint of the FEA:
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
The jurisdiction of the judge is given according to law.
The active legitimacy of the plaintiff is given according to the law.
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
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.
On 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.
The 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
The 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.
The plaintiff pays the costs.
(Signed) President of the Court of
If you cannot imagine this
kind of decision coming from a court in the United States, you have not been
paying attention to the advances of administrative law.
Hertel 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.
"They 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."
As those 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.
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 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
"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 milliliters 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."
Journalist 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
Researcher 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:
"Microwaving appears to
be contra-indicated at high temperatures, and questions regarding its safety
exist even at low temperatures."
The final statement of the
study conclusion reads:
"This preliminary study
suggests that microwaving human milk could be detrimental. Further studies are
needed to determine whether and how microwaving could safely be done."
Unfortunately, further studies
are not scheduled at this time.
If there 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 individual health?
If you 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.
Well, 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.
How many 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?
Microwave Oven Radiation Leakage
Microwave oven radiation is present whenever a microwave oven is turned on. It is odorless and invisible, and therefore, difficult to detect. The microwave energy (high-energy radiation of approx. 1010 Hz) causes the water molecules in the food to vibrate rapidly which cooks the food. It can also penetrate through living tissue causing harm to our health. Once you turn off the oven, the microwaves disappear.
there a danger to prolonged exposure to microwave radiation?
The FDA has established microwave radiation exposure levels greater than 5mw/cm2 to be dangerous, but many medical experts disagree and think this level should be lowered. Independent studies have revealed levels much lower can cause:
sterility in men
nervous system damage
with some pacemakers
in immune system competency
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
The main concerns are:
Leaking microwaves: Microwave ovens may leak for a variety of reasons. If the oven is damaged in any way, if rust develops on the oven door or grille or in the oven cavity, or the door seals become loose or out of alignment, have it checked by the manufacturer or an approved service agent. Keeping the oven door and hinge areas clean and free from food deposits should help prevent rust.
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:
the oven door
spills and food particles build up in and around the door seals
the oven around
dropping the unit
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.
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 around).
Choice, February 1996, pg. 40
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