The Dangers of Microwave Ovens Everyone Needs to Know

Do you stand in front of your microwave while it’s heating food?

Or do you turn it on and run for cover, worried about the potential microwave dangers?

Microwaves, a common appliance found in just about every household, may be convenient, but they harm your health.

Did you know that your microwave might be a health hazard? Microwaves’ quick cooking radiation robs your food of nutrients and causes toxic chemicals to leach out of plastic containers.

Microwaves: Killer Convenience

Microwave ovens, originally sold as “Radaranges,” use technology that passes electromagnetic waves through food, exciting the molecules and causing them to move and heat up as they respond to the microwave radiation.

Most people don’t think twice about heating up leftovers, defrosting meat, or popping popcorn in the microwave. Many new mothers even heat up breast milk or formula in the microwave.

But are we paying for this convenience with our health?

Studies on the effects of microwaves have been quite controversial as microwave technology has evolved over the years. In 1976 Russia even banned the use of microwaves!1

Here in the US, microwaves are ubiquitous, but recent research shows that microwaves significantly decrease the nutritional value of food.

Microwaves have been shown to affect foods in these ways:2

  • Reduce levels of vitamin B 12
    Vitamin B 12 is essential for red blood cell formation, preventing anemia, and a healthy nervous system.
  • Decrease flavonoids by 97%!
    Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-microbial properties.
  • Break down bacteria-digesting enzymes in breast milk
    Babies rely on enzymes from breast milk to establish a healthy inner ecosystem that digests food, absorbs nutrients and protects against pathogens.
  • Lower levels of sinapic acid derivatives
    Sinapic acids scavenge for and neutralize free radicals, cancer-causing agents in your body.
  • Decrease antibody levels in breast milk
    Antibodies in mother’s milk protect babies from infections.

Microwaving foods may preserve more vitamins than boiling, for example, but that does not make it a safe and nutritious cooking choice.

Microwaving can significantly alter levels of vitamins and nutrients that you need for a healthy body.

Plastic in the Microwave

Another risk when using microwaves is that cancer-causing compounds from plastic containers and plastic wrap can leach into your food.3

FDA science policy analyst Catherine Bailey says “When you microwave, it’s a good idea not to have the plastic touch the food.”4

This is especially important advice for mothers who are currently heating their baby’s bottle in the microwave.

Many mothers already know that microwaves heat liquids unevenly, so milk heated in the microwave could have hot spots that scald your baby. But the greater risk is that hormone-disrupting chemicals from plastic bottles heated in the microwave leach into the milk.

Bisphenol A, a chemical toxin that affects neural and reproductive development, is present in some popular plastic baby bottles and low doses of the chemical are linked to cancers, early puberty, obesity, and diabetes.

Avoid the possibility of toxins contaminating your food by not microwaving in plastic at all.

Baby bottles heated in the microwave can leach dangerous toxins into breast milk or formula. Your best bet? Avoid microwaves altogether when heating liquids for your baby.

Minimize Damage from Microwaves

The easiest way to avoid the damaging effects of microwaves is not to use them, but here are some ways to help you lessen your dependence on microwaves:

  • Foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are best eaten raw, parboiled quickly or lightly steamed to retain nutrients.
  • To heat water for hot drinks, our favorite alternative is fast and effective, without microwave dangers: Chef’s Choice cordless electric kettle.This stainless steel kettle heats your water so fast that you won’t even miss your microwave!
  • If you must use plastic from time to time find ones that do not leach Bisphenol A. A far better choice is to useglass baby bottles, which we think is the best baby bottle option for supervised use. You may want to switch to a safer plastic option for unsupervised use.
  • If you must use plastics, do not heat them in the microwave. Look for polypropylene and polyethylene plastic containers if you do use plastics.
  • Get a Turbo Oven ( a small convection oven) to cook quickly and healthfully! A convection oven. With a Turbo Oven, you cook faster and more evenly in half the time of a regular oven, without microwave dangers!

You do not have to subject yourself to microwave dangers. By choosing other methods to cook and store your food, you can be sure that your food will retain nutrients and be toxin-free.


  1. Kopp, William, “Microwave Madness,” Omega News, 13 Apr 2006.
  2. Lee, Lita, “Microwaves and Microwave Ovens,” 14 May 2001. http://www.litalee.com/IDY055/FILES/Microwaves%20And%20Microwave%20Ovens.pdf
  3. Raloff, Janet, “Microwaving can lower breast milk benefits,” Science News, 25 Apr 1992.

    Vellejo, F, et al, “Phenolic compound contents in edible parts of broccoli inflorescences after domestic cooking,” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Vol. 83, no. 14, pp. 1511-1516. Nov 2003.

    Watanabe, Fumio, “Effects of Microwave Heating on the Loss of Vitamin B 12 in Food,” J. Agric. Food Chem., 46 (1), 206 -210, 1998.

  4. Does Plastic in Microwave Pose Health Problems? Wall Street Journal, 12 Oct 1998. http://www.mindfully.org/Plastic/Microwave-Health-Problems.htm
  5. Does Plastic in Microwave Pose Health Problems? Wall Street Journal, 12 Oct 1998. http://www.mindfully.org/Plastic/Microwave-Health-Problems.htm
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