So, this blog is sometimes inspired by Facebook comments. A friend started a conversation with me in a news-feed discussion that shifted into the “dangers” of microwave cooking. What’s interesting to me, is the THOUGHT PROCESSES which lead us to conclusions.
Less so, the topic itself. Here are the FB excerpts, then my reply:
FRIEND: You say “the microwave process distorts the molecular structure of the food itself. Fresh vegetables become altered in a microwave into compounds not recognized by the human body.” Is there *any* substantive evidence that this is true, as far as you know? Ideally, reputable peer-reviewed studies? I’ve looked, and I can’t find any.
SCOTT: Yes, loads of studies, mostly European and Russian on microwave molecular restructuring of food. I’m surprised it doesn’t Google. Let me check and get back to you.
FRIEND: I’ll say up front that I’m generally suspicious of Russian research on a lot of topics; some pretty weird stuff comes out of there that no one else can reproduce.
FRIEND: The article you post talks mostly about two people, Kopp and Hertel, both of whom seem pretty wingnutty and are widely discredited (see http://www.cspinet.org/nah/04_05/microwavemyths.pdf).
There’s a good article here that debunks a lot of the claims made in the article: http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4080
SCOTT: Ok, I’m reading through the article. This is my response:
#1: As a colon hygienist, I read all kinds of stupidity written about colonics. It’s always presented by “experts” and generally runs counter to MY experiences with colonics after 12 years. For example, Dr. Oz is against colon hygiene. Dr. Oz also recently wrote in Time mag that “organic” is a waste of money. So, there are positions postured which are just that, positions. I watched Dr. Oz’s program on colonics and thought, “Wow! That was really, really stupid.”
Now, I don’t care whether anybody microwaves their food. Why should I care?! My son carries his cell phone in his front pocket and I repeatedly tell him, “I wouldn’t store that thing near my stuff.” It’s just an awareness thing. Take it or leave it.
#2: Industry. If one reads about our many industries, there is a pattern. There is the PRODUCT, the MEDICAL/CLINICAL STUDIES, the GOV’T OVERSIGHT, and then, it’s for sale on the shelf. Plus, MARKETING. One might expect that this pattern has been de-bugged, except the opposite is true. One excellent book on this would be, “Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of the Legal Drug Industry.” Here we discover that MARKETING drives the drug product-invention process, corporations purchase their own MEDICAL studies to submit to the FDA, has placed THEIR industry experts INSIDE government, then, a new product is on the shelf.
The government itself never, ever replicates the clinical reports. Thus, society is actually “the lab” and products are then on a recall-basis. There is quite a long list of drugs taken off the market and major intimidation all around, like Pfizer threatening Stanford University after spotlighting Vioxx as causing heart attacks. Or we see the chemical giant, Monsanto, placing its top level exec’s in decision-making positions within the FDA, and the amazing legislation which suddenly passes in Monsanto’s favor.
I find it’s helpful to see into our culture. See through what’s presented as normal. One client of mine ate most of his meals in restaurants and I cautioned him against this. This would seem ludicrous to many. But not if you saw THROUGH the food prep between the “farm” and the table at most restaurants. Then, my client underwent a quadruple bypass. THEN my client brought me a Viagra pill as “a tip.” I told him I wouldn’t try his gift at home. He was astonished. I said that “blindness” was listed as a side-effect. He said, “That never happens!” I said, “It’s written on the box!” I added, “Check with your doctor before you take Viagra after bypass surgery.” Then, I didn’t hear from him for a couple of months and I Googled his name and guess what? He was dead. Died in his sleep on a Friday night.
Now, that could be one of those stories parents tell their children to put the fear of God into them. It’s not. It’s that, having read a book like “Bitter Pills,” I read story after story about people who took a pill and keeled-over dead. In fact, the Journal of the American Medical Association itself published that “adverse reactions” to drugs was documented in one year to have killed 106,000 Americans. That’s 8,833 per month. That’s 290 people per day. How does this happen?
THAT’s the question.
#3: Clinical studies DO NOT require long range side-effects or no drug could be approved. Plus, if a person has been prescribed three medications, for example, the combination of those particular chemicals has NEVER been studied. Plus, long range side-effects are many. For example, aspirin and other pain meds are documented to cause a weakening of the protective digestive lining, known as “leaky gut.” This then contributes to multiple OTHER issues like food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and low calcium assimilation, to name a few. “Bitter Pills” refers to this as a “cascading” of new prescriptions to treat these secondary symptoms caused by one initial drug, but unrecognized. Listed drug side-effects are only the most-immediate consequences.
#4: Microwave ovens are cut from this same industrial mold. No government agency would venture to force a corporation to study long range effects of microwave cooking. And, if we check, none have. What industry would add expense to their bottom line to prove their product is unsafe? None would, and interestingly, none have!
#5: The same is true of colon hygiene. What clinical studies have been conducted on colonics? None. Then it’s quoted that no “clinical studies” have proven a benefit to colon hygiene. But, there are no studies at all!
I myself was quoted in my local newspaper about the benefits of colonics, but immediately following was quoted a local gastroenterologist, “Surely no food remains in the digestive tract longer than 72 hours.” That’s hilarious and easily disproved, if one was actually a colon hygienist, who had given colonics to dozens of people across many years who were on juice-only fasts for 7, 21, 30, 60 or 90 days and witnessed many FEET of crap coming out. That is, no food, 72+ hours, lots of crap.
I even filmed a woman’s colonic in Day #42 on a juice fast. Three feet of shit. It got 500 YouTube hits and the client made me pull it because she feared somebody might recognize her. I’d make another, but that takes time, which I will get to, again.
Will the newspaper revisit the idea that food passes out of the body within 72 hours. Nope. Impression made. Doctor-evaluated.
#6: Shades of Gray. The effect of a microwave oven on heating food need not be ALL bad or ALL good. It’s that, there’s a question. The article stating that microwave cooking is ALL SAFE explains:
“While X-rays, gamma radiation, and even sunlight can cause cancer, microwave radiation cannot because it simply doesn’t pack enough power to damage your DNA,” says Gary Zeman of the Health Physics Society in McLean, Virginia.
Now, many years ago, I microwaved a hard boiled egg. I took it out and stuck a fork in it. Suddenly, it exploded. I mean, like a hand grenade, egg on the ceiling. My experience with a microwave is that it packs a ton of power. It blew the freaking fuse box once when I accidentally left a fork in the microwave. I’d sit in the sun for five minutes, but would never consider sticking my arm in the microwave oven for five seconds, if I could. I’d say the DNA would come out a bit sizzled.
#6A: Vibration. We think of water as a simple element, but it’s actually quite complex. It can vary in all sorts of ways, pH being one measure. Water can vary between acidic and alkaline all across the pH scale. This too can have a long range effect on the body. pH stands for “potential for hydrogen.” We might call water H2O, but the hydrogen atoms can vary all over the place. Also, water has an electromagnetic charge which can be measured as either positive or negative. Positive-charged particles cause oxidation in the tissue, while negative charges serve to “complete” free radical electrons. Water molecules also “cluster,” which can prevent it from being able to assimilate into the cells.
There are machines which can “restructure” water molecules to improve the qualities of water entering the human body. And many articles have been written to “debunk” such “theory.”
The fact remains that water varies in it’s most-basic molecular dynamics. That’s enough to make a person say, “Huh!”
AND THEN, to appreciate that a microwave “heating machine” works via exciting the food’s molecules, balanced with the awareness that the human body assimilates food based on molecules, might cause a person to say, “Huh!” If something as simple as water can vary in its ability to support human health, what about the changed properties of water molecules coming out of a microwave oven? That’s a question, not an answer.
#7: Tip off. Sometimes it’s evident WHERE the author is coming from by clear statements which stretch the facts. In the article debunking “the debunking” of microwave safety, the author contends:
“While plastic food wrap hasn’t been approved by the FDA for use in microwave ovens,” says Paquette, “as long as the wrap doesn’t touch the food while it’s cooking, there’s little chance of any chemicals migrating from the wrap into the food.” Besides, she notes, “there are no components of plastic wrap that are considered carcinogenic in humans.”
A: Plastic wrap helps to create STEAM which condensates quite-hot on the plastic, then drips back into the food.
B: No components of plastic are considered carcinogenic? What planet is this person from?
C: This is a pro-industry article. Like Dr. Oz writing for Time that “organic” is a waste of good money.
#8: Another tip off.
“The FDA has a rigorous protocol that manufacturers of food packaging must execute every time they have new packaging components they want to use,” says George Sadler. “Companies must measure how much, if any, of the packaging materials migrate into the food when they’re heated in the microwave. Then the manufacturer has to undertake a rigorous toxicological evaluation to show that those levels are safe.”
Here’s an article for further research on how the FDA operates today: http://rense.com/general33/fd.htm
Here is a list of “withdrawn drugs” by the FDA, which is a partial list, because many dangerous drugs are not withdrawn, just given more limited use and higher warnings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_withdrawn_drugs.
PLASTIC is a ginormous industry and it ain’t letting a little thing like the FDA stand in its way. Besides, the FDA is headed by a former chemical-maker executive, who knows all about rigorous toxicological bullshit.
#9: More article quote:
Hertel emerged with an astonishing pronouncement. Eating microwaved milk and vegetables caused changes in the men’s blood that “appear to indicate the initial stage of a pathological process such as occurs at the start of a cancerous condition.” Hertel didn’t actually find that microwaved food caused cancer. And his “study,” which no researchers have tried to reproduce, was never peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal. “Without knowing more about how he conducted his study, what he measured, how he measured it, and what he found, it’s impossible to even begin to evaluate his findings,” says Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University in Pullman. Hertel has dropped out of public view. So has William Kopp, described only as a “U.S. researcher,” who wrote an article in 1996 claiming that Cold War research in the Soviet Union had proven the dangers of microwave ovens.
“People who ingested microwaved foods showed a statistically higher incidence of stomach and intestinal cancers, plus a general degeneration of peripheral cellular tissues and a gradual breakdown of the function of the digestive and excretory systems,” Kopp wrote.
SCOTT: I find all of the above Hertel and Kopp concerns credible, despite the negative tone with which this is written. These scientists presented findings, that’s all, findings, and then “dropped out of public view.” The article notes: Kopp himself reportedly changed his name and vanished, believing that the appliance industry was out to persecute him.
Um, yeah! Industry is widely known to personally attack those who question PRODUCT. When the article states that no researchers have “tried to reproduce” the Hertel/Kopp findings, that’s because nobody else is stupid enough to bring on persecution from industry, hell no! One might think that this concept would be worth pursuing, that heat vibration might be measurable in a person’s blood as radiation. Well, nope, we better not touch that one! Not as long as GE is around.
#10: Popcorn! Article states:
Can that “heat susceptor” generate enough heat to trigger the release of chemicals like packaging adhesives into the food? No, says the FDA’s Paquette. “If you look in a popcorn bag, you don’t actually see the silver-colored heat susceptor,” she explains. “It’s sealed inside a pouch in the bag itself.” That helps to dramatically reduce the migration of chemicals into the popcorn oil, says Paquette.
This is funny because Dr. Andrew Weil has something very different to say, which is that, the industry has until 2015 to remove teflon from microwave popcorn bags. Hmm, that means something bad is going on, with microwave popcorn, and industry has two more YEARS to fix it? Read for yourself: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400701/Microwave-Popcorn-Threat.html
That “silver-colored heat susceptor” is measurable as poisons leached, because plastic and teflon are oil-soluble and do leach into butter, especially super-hot chemicals simulating butter-flavor, dangerous to ingest in-and-of itself, let alone as a leaching agent.
#11 (this one goes to 11): I’ll summarize the second article my friend posted with it’s conclusion:
So what’s the sum total of our evidence? Billions of people have been eating microwaved food for decades, with no ill effects, and no plausible expectation of ill effects.
Excuse me, but I believe disease statistics in the U.S. have generally been on the rise since the introduction of the microwave oven in 1954. Cancer mortality has doubled since 1954 (epidemic). Digestive disorders, tripled. Antidepressant sales, about zero in 1954, now at $1 billion per MONTH in the U.S. and growing. Medical spending per capita in 1960? $143. Inflation factor? Times five. (We now spend about $10,000 per person yearly on medical care, 13X 1960 levels.) “Rare disease” diagnosis cases in the U.S. — millions, each rare. Fibromyalgia? Didn’t exist in 1954. Blame the microwave? Hell no! But I wouldn’t agree with the statement that billions of people have been eating microwaved food in recent decades with NO ILL effects.
Statistics suggest what? Questions. It’s shades of gray. Eat it. Drink it. Smoke it. Microwave it. In a consumerist society, make an informed choice.
In conclusion: This author suggests that a person learn more about the relationship between corporate industry, government, lab-science, and one’s health. Plus, the overlay of media as a dumb-down influence. Where a person falls in relation to their perspective on this will likely resonate with their attitude towards social protections, in general. Some might think it’s wrong to overly suspect too much, too often. With those, I agree. Microwave your popcorn. Why should anybody care!
Truth is, if we are seeking truth: You care. S.