Another Reason to Avoid the Microwave Oven: Radiation Leakage Danger
Time for another installment of microwave research notes. (Click here for part one.) Today we’re going to examine the possibility of dangerous microwave energy (i.e. radiation) emitting from the microwave and harming your body. You know, the reason people tell you to stand back from the microwave instead of leaning close to gaze at the food turning on the pedestal while it cooks or reheats?
No Nukes in Microwaves
First, let’s get one thing straight: microwave radiation has little to nothing in common with hydrogen bomb radiation, Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. It is even entirely different from X-ray radiation. Be sure to separate microwaves from nuclear and X-ray energy in your mind.
There are two effects of microwave energy in a microwave oven: heat-related (thermal) and non-thermal. If you are exposed to the heating effects of the microwave, your systems would cook just like the food rotating on the microwave plate. Luckily, it’s pretty hard for the heat to escape the microwave if all its parts are working properly. The non-thermal energy is another issue.
Russian Policy on Microwaves: No Way
Some microwave energy is allowed to escape microwaves under FDA regulations, actually 5 times that which is allowed in Russia. Russians have to wear special goggles if they are exposed to just a smidgen of the radiation that escapes from most American microwaves. Microwave ovens are banned in Russia, which doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re inherently evil or will kill you…but it’s a fact that gives me pause. If something is banned in an entire country, you would think there would be a good reason for it.
Conflicting Research (Again)
Of course, you can find as many sources (1 2 3 4 and more) that will assure you that little to no microwave energy escapes modern microwaves, and that research only shows that very high concentrations of microwave exposure will harm people. There are some middle of the line sources (1 2 3) like me that admit that although the above information is probably true, there simply isn’t enough research on low levels of microwave radiation exposure and its effects on humans. Sounds like something I’d like our government and universities to explore further; in the meantime, I choose to play it safe.
These sources (1 2 3) will tell you how microwaves (and all sorts of other electronic and electric appliances) are going to kill you, and quickly. Some of them are actually very interesting reads (skims) and not all that radical. You just have to read them with a prayer and the firm belief in Soul First, Body Second or you’ll give yourself a heart attack from the stress.
What MIGHT Microwave Radiation Do To Us?
If in fact harmful energy emits from your microwave, and if in fact it can enter your body, these are the possible hazards:
- Changes in blood
But I Still Want to Use My Microwave!
Yeah, I know. Me, too. My husband, three! Here are some practical tips for safER use of your microwave:
- Do NOT, absolutely do NOT, use a microwave with a broken door or seal
- Do NOT use a microwave that is acting up in other ways either, but the door is most important
- At the very least, don’t let your kids (or spouse, or self) stand right next to the microwave watching the food turn around. Every little bit farther from the microwave that you stand, the possible microwave energy hitting your body decreases exponentially.
- Consider other options for microwave un-use. See this post for tips on avoiding and this post for time management tips.
- Avoid cooking meat in the microwave. Learn why in the last installment of Research Notes: Other Food Issues.
If you buy any of this and want to commit to reducing your microwave use, the stress-free baby step way, check out The Invitation post and leave a comment to sign up for Mind the Microwave in May.
I’m pleased to participate in Fight Back Fridays and All Things Eco this week.
Other Mind the Microwave in May posts:
- The Challenge
- The Invitation
- Research Notes, part one: Breastmilk
- 10 Tips for Avoiding the Microwave
- Time Management/Fewer Dishes Tips
- 13 Surprising Benefits of a Microwave Free Life
Don’t forget to return for that last installment of Microwave Research Notes: or in a reader.