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ZEPHYRA's avatar

Do you ever worry about the effects of using a microwave oven?

Asked by ZEPHYRA (15386 points ) April 9th, 2010

Many have said it is totally safe but I have my doubts. Do you believe they are a curse disguised as a blessing?

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46 Answers

grumpyfish's avatar

Microwave radiation is non-ionizing, this means that other than heating you up, it’s not going to cause cancer or other long term issues.

They’re also well shielded, so the leakage from a microwave isn’t going to really cause any stronger effects than, say, a cell phone across the room.

I wouldn’t stick my head in one, but that’s because I’d prefer the enzymes in my head didn’t get denatured by the heat.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t like heating my kids’ food up in the microwave and prefer using a hot water bath.

dpworkin's avatar

Heating your food in a microwave is exactly the same chemically as heating in a water bath. Exactly.

Rarebear's avatar

They’re safe except for the heat (food can get too hot). And as a bonus you can measure the speed of light in one.

Coloma's avatar

No. I don’t ‘worry’ about much of anything. A waste of energy.

Okay…not entirely true…right now I am a bit worried.
I have a frog stuck in the back of my dryer somewhere the last few days. It is croaking a lot and the echo is really LOUD! lol

I hope it doesn’t die in there, wherever it is!

Rarebear's avatar

@dpworkin Not exactly. A hot water bath will heat a water bottle from the outside in. A microwave will heat it generally from the inside out causing hot spots within the liquid that can scald. That’s why it’s not recommended to heat milk for babies in a microwave.

Arp's avatar

There is a small amount of microwave particles hitting us currently, remnants of the big bang. In other words, in small amounts these waves do not effect us much. That does not mean I condone sticking your head in a microwave oven though :P

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@dpworkin What @Rarebear said and also it’s not recommended to heat formula for babies in the microwave and so I just got used to using the water bath (easier to stir and control).

dpworkin's avatar

I said chemically. It is chemically the same. It is not physically the same.

jaytkay's avatar

Here’s a quick demonstratino of microwave shielding.
Put a cell phone inside the microwave
Call the phone
It won’t ring

Sorry, but I feel a need to add DO NOT TURN ON THE OVEN WITH A PHONE INSIDE.

Rarebear's avatar

@dpworkin You’re right. I missed the word “chemically”. My mistake.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@dpworkin okay, well what does that matter? I wasn’t talking about chemical properties originally

Rarebear's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir He’s talking about the physics and chemistry of it. (Actually, maybe not the physics, since the physics of heating food in a microwave is different).

dpworkin's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir because it is the chemistry that makes changes in the food. However, if you prefer a waterbath, it is a terrific way to heat food. In fact, I wish I could afford a sous vide system – that would prepare much better food than my microwave, and it depends upon immersing food in heated water.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Yes, I do. Sometimes the food comes out too hot.

emergence's avatar

IDK, microwaves freak me out. I don’t have one. There is something to be said for ‘slow cooking’ not that the longer it takes to cook the better, but referring to more old fashioned cooking techniques.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have read studies, as well, that show that certain vegetables lose nutrients when cooked in a microwave over steaming them, for examle (that article says it’s not true) and as vegans, my children eat a lot of what? that’s right: vegetables.

dpworkin's avatar

Yeah. Steaming is better. It’s better than boiling, too.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@dpworkin It’s like this: I’ve read some studies say ‘yay for microwave’ and some say ‘nah for microwave’ so I steer clear of them in terms of my kids’ food – why take the chance if I can do a water bath. I boil the water in a glass teapot with good metal parts inside (that is supposed to be better than what other teapots have) but I think all of these measures don’t or won’t have a drastic effect but hell, the closer I can get to how my mom did it, the better.

dpworkin's avatar

I’m all in favor of using the old ways.

ucme's avatar

Yeah no matter how hard I try my apple refuses to turnover.

phoebusg's avatar

No, so long you don’t use plastic containers – or other materials that release particles into your food. You wouldn’t put plastic materials in an oven, or a pot. Get microwavable dishes/glassware.

chels's avatar

Do I worry about the effects of using a microwave?
Honestly?
No.

lloydbird's avatar

We don’t and have never had a microwave oven, by choice. I read an article in Nexus Magazine about their potential dangers, about 15 years ago. You can still get the article, but sadly, it is not on their free to view list.
However, my search for it did turn up these two articles .
Worrying stuff don’t ya think?

DominicX's avatar

Sometimes they can be a curse because of how damn unevenly they cook things. And this was an expensive name-brand microwave I was using. I microwaved one of those frozen dinners; the edges were boiling and any more time in there and it would’ve melted the plastic but the center was ice cold. Grrrr. >.<

Other than that, no, I don’t worry about the effects of microwaves. To me, this is just another thing like the 9/11 truth movement. Vehement opposing sides, each with their set of “evidence” and lack thereof. Both sides are like a religion.

lloydbird's avatar

@dpworkin You have an very impressive reading speed, given that your ” No” posting appeared less than 20 seconds after mine.

You may already be familiar with these articles, in which case, each to their own.

CMaz's avatar

Never. It does a great job of drying my hair.

Wait! I have no hair.

nicobanks's avatar

I don’t worry about using a microwave because I don’t use a microwave. I’d have a have a pretty damned big kitchen to add an appliance to it that doesn’t actually do anything unique… I mean, I have an oven, what do I need a microwave for? Time shmime, I’m not rushed for time. I’d get a food processor way the hell before I got a microwave, that’s for sure.

Symbeline's avatar

I don’t worry about it. In fact if it weren’t for microwaves, I’d probably starve to death. Hmm, pizza pops and old, reheated coffee.

Rarebear's avatar

@lloydbird Okay, I’ll read your articles.
Reference one:
“Eight people participated in the study.” Which makes it worthless. Also, assuming this study really existed (they don’t reference the study) there wasn’t a placebo trial.
“Overall, the study suggested that eating microwaved foods can cause degenerative diseases and/or cancer.2 ” Based on what data? On 8 people studied for 8 weeks? That’s not data.

“In early 1991, a lawsuit was filed against an Oklahoma hospital because a patient died form receiving a microwaved blood transfusion. ” No reference provided. But transfusing blood is very different than ingesting mac and cheese. The blood may have been denatured by the heat.
”“Microwaves are not recommended for heating a baby’s bottle” If you read my post above, you’ll see that I agree with this. But babies should be breastfed anyway.
“1. Microwaved foods lose 60 ~ 90% of the vital-energy field” What the frak is a “vital energy field?”
” Microwaving creates cancer-causing agents within milk and cereals.” No data.
” Microwaving alters elemental food-substances, causing digestive disorders. ” No data
” Microwaving alters food chemistry which can lead to malfunctions in the lymphatic system and degeneration of the body’s ability to protect itself against cancerous growths.” No data
” Microwaved foods lead to a higher percentage of cancerous cells in the bloodstream.” No data
“Microwaving altered the breakdown of elemental substances when raw, cooked, or frozen vegetables were exposed for even a very short time and free radicals were formed.” No data. But cooking over a pot alters raw food also,.
”. Microwaved foods caused stomach and intestinal cancerous growths, a general degeneration of peripheral cellular tissues, and a gradual breakdown of the digestive and excretive systems in a statistically high percentage of people.” No data
“Microwaved foods lowered the body’s ability of the body to utilize B-complex vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, essential minerals and lipotropics.” No data
“The microwave field next to a microwave oven caused a slew of health problems as well.” LOL. No data.

In short, the article is complete bull. Anybody can write baseless claims and claim it to be “fact”. Creationists do it all the time. That doesn’t make it true.

I browsed through the second article, and it has the same type of babble as the first. I’m not going to bother picking it apart. In short, it makes a bunch of baseless claims without any data.

dpworkin's avatar

I told you it was a bunch of crap. But did you believe me? Nooooo.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@lloydbird …and he’s a doctor, you wasted a good doctor’s time (do you know how rare those are?!!!!)

Val123's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I wouldn’t worry about his doctorly time too much!!
@Rarebear Measures the speed of light? I’m rollin’! I mean, checked out the link but I about fell over when I saw your post!!

@lloydbird Microwaves also cause Aphrodite babies, and it’s true. Because it’s in print. Right here. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ See?

Silhouette's avatar

I don’t worry too much about it, I just don’t put the cat in mine. Messy

Rarebear's avatar

@val123 Yup, I just love debunking crazy claims. No worries about my time.
@lloydbird Just microwaved a burrito.

Val123's avatar

@Rarebear No! You didn’t! .... Did it turn into a donkey with high blood pressure??

Rarebear's avatar

@Val123 Oh so THAT’S what’s flying out of my butt!

thriftymaid's avatar

No; I stand four feet away when it is in operation.

Coloma's avatar

Okay…...WARNING! This is a true ( and sad, horrible story! )

When my daughter was about 4 we got a baby pet rat.

It seemed sick within the first few days, coldish and wheezing.

One afternoon I decided to try to give a steam treatment to the poor thing to help it’s breathing.

I filled a large bowl with water and boiled it in the microwave.

When it was hot and steaming I put the baby rat on a big folded towel on the top rack of the microwave. It seemed secure no danger of falling.

My daughter was outside playing and came to the back door, somehow it had ended up locked and I went to let her in, when all of a sudden…... I heard a little splashing sound!

OMG! Yes, I regret to say it’s true. :-(

Somehow the poor little thing had fallen off it’s towel and into the bowl of boiled water.

Not a happy ending, not at all.

I felt terrible for months.

Talk about literally killing something with kindness.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I dislike microwaves but not for any fear of radiation or nutrient damage. Food heated up always sucks afterward and I hate getting burned by hot spots on dishes.

Rarebear's avatar

@thriftymaid You don’t even need to do that. The microwaves are trapped by the surrounding Faraday cage, and it’s totally safe.

Val123's avatar

@Rarebear No no. What came flying out of your butt was the BRAIN CANCER!!!

@Coloma Ah crap! I’m so sorry….

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