Microwave Ovens: Another Form of Radiation?

February 3, 2012
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

57300887Convenience vs. health.

Radiation has sure been in the news a lot these days—and for good reason. But what about the radiation emitted from your microwave oven? Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic energy, like radio waves or light waves. They don’t use nuclear power, but they do use radio frequencies (RF) like radio and TV broadcast towers, cell phones, and radar. Although they’re a popular way of reheating or even cooking foods, I’ve never been comfortable with them—even though a whopping 95% of the population owns one.

Guess What Came to Dinner. In that book, I wrote “Because microwaves do not always cook evenly, fish cooked by this method are often underdone and can harbor live parasites. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported a case in 1988 of a woman who noticed some ‘thin, tan, paper-clip-length’ worms squirming around in the uneaten piece of haddock she had cooked in her new microwave. Laboratory examination showed them to be anisakid worms.”

In the 1970’s, researcher William Kopp examined research conducted by Soviet scientists into what was then a new technology. Kopp’s review of the Soviet research turned up some interesting—and unsettling—facts about food cooked with microwaves.

These included:
• Carcinogens that developed in some meats, milk, and cereal grains
• A rise in stomach and intestinal cancers among those who ate microwaved foods
• Dysfunctions in the digestive and lymphatic systems of those who ate microwaved foods
• The formation of free radicals
• A decline in the bioavailability of many nutrients
• Destabilized proteins

Exposure and Solutions
Electrical engineers like Larry Gust—a certified building biologist with the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology who performs indoor environmental inspections and mitigations—had this to say about microwave ovens when I was researching Zapped:

“Unfortunately the microwave oven is designed to meet government standards on RF leakage. These standards are thousands of times too high. So, these units leak radiation right through the window in the door and this energy travels great distances in free air. This RF leakage is avoidable by where you position the microwave. But RF radiation is not the end of the story. The nutritive value of microwaved food has been destroyed by the violent vibration of the water molecules (2.4 billion Hz) in the food. I am sorry to say this, but you are better off not eating than to eat microwaved food.”

Gust has measured RF leakage from microwave ovens up to a 1600 foot radius around the oven in some cases!

Kerry Crofton, PhD’s wonderful book Radiation Rescue offers even more safeguards for microwave users.

These suggestions are from Rob Metzinger, an electronics engineering technologist, and consultant with the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology.

• Get the newest, smallest, low-powered microwave you can, and always stand at least 15 feet away when it’s in use.
• Avoid heating baby formula in a microwave. Keep infants and children far away when it’s on. (Furthermore, according to Radiation Rescue, the December 1989 of The Lancet reported that heating formula in a microwave changed several of the amino acids into non-biologically active synthetic forms—one which was toxic.)
• If you need something defrosted, take it out of the freezer a night or two before and defrost it in the fridge.
• Heat leftovers in a toaster oven or on a hot plate.

The events in Japan should make us all pause to reflect on the various kinds of radiation that we are now exposed to on a daily basis that are drowning us in a sea of invisible pollution.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Rhonda

    I am so glad your are addressing this issue!! I got rid of my microwave 6 years ago after reading the findings from a Swiss physicist who had researched the safety of these ovens. I told my friends what I had read.They didn’t seem worried when I told them that the food was being distorted, especially when you put food with preservatives and traces of pesticides into them. They were more concerned with how they wouldn’t be able to get dinner on the table quickly! !!! And, I get sick when I think of mothers putting baby formula in them!!

    Now, I use a crock pot , an electric steamer, a toaster oven, a small glass convection oven, and sometimes my regular oven. I don’t miss the microwave at all!!

  2. Lyn

    I also threw my microwave out about 4 yrs ago. I had not used it one year prior to throwing it out. My children thought that I had lost my mind. I tried to tell them the health hazards and still they continue to microwave everything. I do not miss the microwave at all. Everyone should try to do without it and they would be surprised at what an easy habit it becomes.

  3. Hylda

    Interesting reading I will definately be throwing mine away I have forward it on to a few of my friends Thank you.


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