Microwave Hazards

| Modified on Dec 18, 2014
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Microwave cooking is often considered one of the most convenient ways to prepare or re-prepare food; however, that convenience comes at a cost. Microwaves have significant impacts on general health and may be more harm than help. The concerns regarding microwave cooking are two-fold: the food that has been microwaved as well as the emission of radiation from the microwave itself.

How Do Microwave Ovens Work?

Microwaves work in essentially the opposite direction of conventional ovens. Whereas a conventional oven cooks food from the outside in, a microwave oven emits a form of radiofrequency electromagnetic energy. This energy comes in contact with the food, is absorbed by the foods molecules, and excites the atoms in the food, causing them to move. This movement causes friction and produces the rapid increase in temperature.

This method of cooking likely changes the chemical composition in food, which also alters the way body digests the cooked food. Additionally, microwaves have the potential to emit radio waves that are potentially dangerous to the human body; however, when microwaves are properly maintained even this risk is limited.

The Risks and Hazards of Microwave Cooking

Repeated research has shown that microwaves constitute at least a minimal risk for human health. Blood tests done as a part of study in 1991 indicated that individuals who regularly ate microwaved food had lower healthy red blood cell counts, high cholesterol, higher white blood cell counts and lower lymphocytes. These effects are likely the result of ingesting chemically altered foods that form toxins and free radicals in the body upon breakdown.

Additional hazards of microwaving food include the breakdown of energy sources, degeneration of nerve impulses in the brain, cumulative loss of energy, deposition of magnetic material in the body and interruption of the normal production of hormones in the body. These findings also suggest a higher risk of cancer and other associated disease.

Ultimately, the best option is to avoid microwaved foods as well as microwave frequency in the home. The threats posed, no matter how minimal, have an effect on general health that can be easily avoided.

Infrared Cooking

Posted by Eva (Kitchener, Canada) on 05/06/2011

Hi' is infrared cooking safe for our health?

Microwaving Hazards

1 User Review
1 star (1) 

Posted by Kathy (the USA) on 03/21/2013

I would like some information about the harm of microwave use. Where has there been reliable testing? I thought I was getting better nutritional value from microwaving in a clear glass casserole with a lid. In addition, because our food has been genetically modified I thought the microwave cooking was "pre-digesting" the food that has become so hard to digest. I feel the massive weight-gain of so many is a result of this. Someone please advise.

Replied by Lisa
(Maple Grove, Mn, Us)

There is a lot of information about microwaves on mercola.com. Just do a search for microwave and you will find many of his articles about the hazards of microwave use.

Replied by Gavin
(Manganui, Northland, New Zealand)

Just google microwave and nutrition.. The Soviets did a lot of tests and then banned microwave ovens.

Replied by Mikocampos
(Orlando, Florida)

How about solar microwave oven? It uses sunlight to thaw and cook food. It's safe right?

Microwaving Hazards
Posted by Jong (San Jose, Ca ) on 08/10/2011

For those concerned about microwaving food,

please refer to


Replied by Debbie
(Melbourne, Australia)

I would not believe that microwaves are not killing off nutrients just because a New York Times article says so.

Our Prime Minister says Global Warming is real.... so does Al Gore and most of the global newspapers...

Does that mean that Global Warming is real? You have to reasearch it from reputable sources.

I would rather err on the side of caution.

Ask yourself, why are more people going grey early these days... It is because we are mineral and nutrient deficient. We have to look at our food and how we prepare it. Look at processing of food. My grandmother had all her natural coloured hair at 65 and so did her sister who died at 93??

Replied by Francisca
(Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France)

Sorry Jong, I have read a lot about the danger of microwave ovens and I don't use one, actually never have although there is one built in my kitchen! Even if you discard the dangers of the food cooked in them, think about the radiation that escapes and hits your body? I don't hear them talking about that.... Just think, it is a huge business because most people have one so why would they tell you the truth? Somehow it is something that never caught my interest, sorry, I can't even explain why because for a long time I wasn't even aware of any danger!

Replied by Goldy
(Sydney, Australia)

I stopped using the microwave about 6 months ago to see if it helped my chronic fatigue. Well I can't say that not using it has helped me feel better, but today, stupidly I heated up my food in a microwave and I have been feeling so sick since eating it. This could be a coincidence, but I'm pretty sure I have reacted badly to the radiated food.

Replied by Jong
(San Jose, Ca)

I understand the concern you have. For those of you who are worry about cooking food that destroy nutrient, esp. the precious enzymes, I have a recipe with raw spinach, which as you well know, has full of nutritional value.

Clean them as usual. Immerse them in salt water (preferably sea salt), that has right amount of salt as you like. Leave them for few hours (depending on your preference from 30 mins to few hours). This will make spinach very soft exactly same as if you blanch them. (trust me you'll experience it as you eat them). Squeeze all salt water out, mix them with sesame oil (this is very important Asian recipe, they go together very nicely). Finally add some spices as you like. Now you have 100% raw, smooth, soft tasting spinach. From my experience, this taste exactly like one cooked/blanched. I'm relying on this for my pH alkaline balance every day. So easy to make, taste good, plenty of nutrition. Including the most precious ENZYMES intact.

Microwaving Hazards
Posted by Jac (Baltimore, Maryland, Usa ) on 01/29/2010

I just got rid of my microwaves. Just google 'microwave dangers', and if the things you learn don't terrify, sicken, & anger you, you're INSANE.

Replied by Suzi
(Missoula, Mt)

Oh yes, Jac....I haven't had a microwave for almost 8 years now. Most people really look at me weird when I mention that I wouldn't have a mini-nuclear power plant in my apartment....folks aren't "insane", just uneducated and for that we can't blame them, only by example is my family slowly making the change...bad habits are hard to break.

Replied by Carmen
(Nova Scotia, Canada)

I read it here on EC first. I then did a little research and removed the appliance from my house. We are now 7 months microwave free. :) We do not miss it at all. As my kids watched the microwave go out the door I told them the story of the microwaved water and the seeds that would NOT grow. I think I planted a seed of distrust in their heads as they no longer use the microwaves at school for lunch, it was only my intention to eliminate it's use at home.:)

Microwaving Hazards
Posted by Azg (Toronto, On) on 09/28/2009


I wanted to point out that one should NEVER use the MICROWAVE in holistic healing practises. The Microwave KILLS ENZYMES and any VITALITY in foods. This is why even Doctors tell women to NEVER heat Breastmilk in the microwave for their babies.

Vitality doesn't have to be enzymes or beneficial vitamins...think about water, which has neither enzymes or vitamins...

In highschool we did an experiment where we tried to sprout seeds. One group of seeds were watered with filtered water, one group of seeds were watered with tap water, and the last group of seeds were watered with water that was previously microwaved (but brought back to room temperature before putting on the seeds).

The group of seeds that were watered with microwaved water NEVER SPROUTED. The Microwave removed ALL VITALITY from the water.

Please post this somewhere on your website where many people can find this information...I've found a number of comments where people are heating teas and such with the microwave - BAD IDEA!

Replied by Theo
(Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

This is totally not true. I read something similar a couple of years ago about a high school experiment where plants died on microwaved water. Naturally, I was a little freaked out. So at work I decided to reproduce the experiment. I bought a bunch of plants and separated them into 3 groups: tap water, boiled water, microwaved water. All of the waters were cooled to room temperature before feeding. None of the plants died over the next 3 months. All of my co-workers witnessed this experiment.

Although afterwards I figured my experiment could have been done a little better. I should have picked plants that were water only because the soil might have been a big confounding variable. Also, I could have picked plants that died easier as my particular plant species seemed quite resilient.

In any case, there was no death in the plants. Or any vitality lost.

Replied by Azg
(Toronto, On)

Theo, try the experiment again with seeds. And ask your doctor why they don't recommend that women heat up breastmilk in the microwave.

Replied by Carmen
(Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia, canada)

For me, the flag has been raised too many times on this issue. Just last month I packed up my microwave and took it out of my home. I do not avoid microwaved food at all costs but, less can only be better. Meals now take a little more time to plan (thawing meat), but I have no regrets. We purchased a toaster oven and are having sooo much fun with it and meat thaws quite quickly in a sink of cold water(depending on the cut).

Replied by Suzi
(Missoula, Mt)

Kudos to you and your family...why risk it?

Replied by Rick In Nh
(Concord, Nh)

I LOVE this site and with your help have regained my health after cancer surgery and COPD.

But ...

For all of those who will just believe blindly what they read:

There are 3 reasons why Drs warn women about microwaves: 1 -- Bottle may feel mildly warm on the outside, but be very hot internally. 2 -- steam pressure from overheating may cause bottle to explode. 3 -- some vitamins in FORMULA may be altered due to heat if overheated, but the same could be said about any method of heating.

AND, when you try to post scare tactics on the site, do REAL research. I read one article that said the nazis invented the microwave oven, when it was actually Percy Spencer (an acquaintance when I was a teen) who invented it after accidentally melting his chocolate bar in his pocket while working on a magnetron.

Please, research the facts and don't just use old wives' tales to just try and scare everyone. Just because you can find "Microwave Dangers" on the internet doesn't make it "fact. " I found 34,000,000 articles related to "flying monkey attacks" Should I start wearing a protective suit? I still use a microwave occaisonally to thaw some foods... and I promise, I am far from "insane."

Replied by Sheila
(San Diego, Ca, Usa)

Just a note on one of many books to read about toxic materials in the home: "Slow Death By Rubber Duck" by Smith and Lourie. The two authors do cite studies and litigation regarding chemicals in plastics by manufacturers, like DuPont.

Replied by Francisca
(Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France)

I would be a bit careful with microwaves. There is a lot of serious literature about them, not only Internet gossip!

Replied by Noelle
(Elkhorn, Ne, USA)

If I had a green thumb, I would love to try the seed experiment. To me, it seems that the logical set of water trials and seeds would be:

at least TWO seeds in each pot (if you only used one seed, what if it was a bad seed? It would create a false negative result.)

  • pot 1 - mineral water
  • pot 2 - tap water
  • pot 3 - boiled water
  • pot 4 - microwaved water
  • pot 5 - distilled water
  • pot 6 - reverse osmosis water

I'm betting that the mineral water would win. Tap would come in 2nd. And all the others would not provide enough nutrients to keep up with the growth of 1 and 2 (but theyd still grow)

Just for fun, add pot 7 and 8. Use mineral water in both. And try the 'emotional water' experiment. If you have no idea what I'm referring to, Google 'Dr. Masaru Emoto'. Seemingly far-fetched, but very interesting experiments!