Save me, Science Forum! Or, will microwave ovens kill us all?

Discussion in 'Science' started by Agg, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    32,673
    Location:
    A Reported Post Near You
    My wife and I are having a minor disagreement at present. She keeps sending me things from various sources that explain how microwave ovens do horrible things to the food we eat, even turning some harmless components into carcinogens. The health ramifications, if these articles are to believed, are extreme!

    However. I am the primary consumer of microwaved food in our household. I don't make medical decisions based on publications with "green", "earth" or "nature" in their title. But I also don't want to become riddled with cancer due to my taste for microwave burritos or Coles Bechamel Lasagne. So I wandered over to fda.gov and searched for information on microwave ovens. They make a few notes about making sure doors are sealed but nothing on the effects of consuming microwaved food. The Lancet makes no mention of microwave ovens at all that I can find, apart from a single line "microwave ovens are harmless" in an article about microwave radiation from mobile phones.

    So. My question is, are there any credible reports of microwave ovens being bad? Or that they're fine? A peer-reviewed medical journal would be ideal. Ta.
     
  2. aXis

    aXis Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    5,548
    Location:
    Kalgoorlie, WA
    hehe, I think your wife should be more worried about the nutritional content of the Burrito and Lasagne than the effects of the Microwave ;)
     
  3. MoonShadow

    MoonShadow Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2003
    Messages:
    272
    Location:
    Melbourne
  4. OP
    OP
    Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    32,673
    Location:
    A Reported Post Near You
    Yeah, well, that's outside the scope of this particular argument. ;)

    Very interesting, ta! But to be fair to her, I should provide more than one source and preferably some peer-reviewed stuff. So I'm still after more info. :)
     
  5. Gunna

    Gunna Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Messages:
    7,770
    Location:
    Brisbane
  6. VooDoo

    VooDoo Large Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2001
    Messages:
    11,238
    Location:
    Drag Rehab Center
    I think Agg microwaved the cat in his avatar....
     
  7. Gunna

    Gunna Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Messages:
    7,770
    Location:
    Brisbane
    But Dr Karl......i mean .......its Dr Karl........how can you not believe what Dr karl says.....the man is a genious......and has some great fashion sense too :lol:
     
  8. Goth

    Goth Grumpy Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,228
    Location:
    /dev/null
    This seems to be an issue where there is a lot of OMG it will kill you! rhetoric that doesn't carry any scientific credibility, but if you go looking for scientifically credible work on the subject it's hard to find.

    http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/jafcau/1998/46/i01/abs/jf970670x.html

    http://md1.csa.com/partners/viewrec...&recid=3827223&q=&uid=788050938&setcookie=yes

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1557249&dopt=Citation

     
  9. mordy

    mordy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    5,100
    Location:
    melb
    microwaves are just that, electromagnetic waves which excite water molecules ... they dont hang about and give u cancer when u eat the food.


    that said, there are millions of carcionegens around which can be present in plastics and all sorts of processed food, but your chance of injury is much much higher every time you go for a ride on ur motorcycle, than when you eat stuff from a microwave.
     
  10. Zzapped

    Zzapped Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2001
    Messages:
    12,352
    Location:
    Madora Bay
    There , I corrected it for you :)

    Cheers

    Z
     
  11. evil-mooo

    evil-mooo Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Messages:
    503
    Location:
    Perth, WA
    I just had a poke around some online journals (I'm so going to miss having access through my uni when I graduate), and have found a number of articles that actually encourage the use of a microwave when cooking, as it reduces the amount of carcinogens/mutagens in the food.

    From "Heterocyclic amines: Mutagens/carcinogens produced during cooking of meat and fish", MEDLINE, 2004:

    From "Food habits and pancreatic cancer: a case-control study of the Francophone community in Montreal, Canada.", MEDLINE, 2004

     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2007
  12. OP
    OP
    Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    32,673
    Location:
    A Reported Post Near You
    Yup, ta. I'm after factual reports tho. I can speculate and give anecdotes already.

    Interesting, not sure I really follow what they're saying with the B12 thing though.

    Wow, that's really interesting, thanks.

    If anything it sounds like microwave oven use should be encouraged, definitely as opposed to frying or other ways of preparing meat that involve burning or smoking. But yeah, eating a microwave-heavy diet probably does lead you towards eating crappy instant meals which has health effects itself. I'm certainly guilty of that. :)
     
  13. Zylatis

    Zylatis Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    914
    Location:
    Glasgow via NYC via Sy
    Yeh the estrogen mimicking chemicals in the plastic wrap will do you worse :)
    you wont get cancer directly from the microwave as (unlike alpha and beta particles) they dont hang around but they can be powerful enough to destroy proteins and reduce the nutritional value (someone mentioned before b12) of the food you are eating.
     
  14. Goth

    Goth Grumpy Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2002
    Messages:
    9,228
    Location:
    /dev/null
    In certain conditions in the microwave, B12 can be broken down, which means there's less of it in the food. The new chemical compounds that it turns into do not fill the useful role of B12, but they are in no way harmful or toxic either.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    32,673
    Location:
    A Reported Post Near You
    Thanks.. but again I'd prefer discussion in this thread to be based on credible sources. We all have things we "know" or have heard or believe to be true, but I'm hoping to get real info here with sources to back it up. Ta!

    Ok, cool. Interestingly from a quick look around, vitamin B12 can be lacking in a meat-free diet too, but generally people get enough that a supplement isn't normally needed. Maybe if you had a pure microwaved diet or were a really hardcore vegan it could be a concern.
     
  16. Barca888

    Barca888 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Messages:
    516
    Location:
    Perth
    My favourite frozen food. I can eat a liter of the bechamel sauce by itself! Never knew you could microwave it, I always Oven it.

    Not really helpful to the topic but I just couldn't resist talking about my favourite frozen dish.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    32,673
    Location:
    A Reported Post Near You
    It's good stuff. Doesn't have the cheating divot in the base of the plastic tray like most brands either, to make it look bigger than it really is. :) Suffers from the same problem as all microwave lasagne though, in that the middle doesn't get hot until the outside is really dry and horrible. Solution: microwave 10 mins, stand 5 mins, microwave 2 mins. Might even be quicker to put it in the oven!
     
  18. -KoMoD0-

    -KoMoD0- Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2005
    Messages:
    9,033
    Location:
    Western Sydney
    ewww thats filthy

    I had one two nights ago and it was bad enough when cooked in the oven
     
  19. ChrisH

    ChrisH Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2003
    Messages:
    3,151
    You may second guess this website as well, but depite its tacky look it is actually the real deal:

    http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/consumer/microwave.html

    "Health, a U.S. Federal standard limits microwave leakage from an oven, for the lifetime of the device, to 5 milliwatts per square centimeter when measured 2 inches from the surface of the oven." This is far below the exposure level that is currently considered to be harmful to human health.

    Im hunting around fro you on Scifidner though.
    The thing is, is that large ammounts of research are not obvious, as there is not really that large a threat. Infact, I say go by quantity. Tell your wife that if she can find more credible article saying they are DEFINATELY bad, then she wins.
     
  20. mordy

    mordy Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    5,100
    Location:
    melb
    well we have government departments that are in place to regulate and control products and technologies which are harmful ... they fact that they havent issues warnings or warning labels of microwave ovens is better proof than any article you are going to find on the internet.
     

Share This Page

Advertisement: