It’s safe to say that most of us grew up with the microwave being one of our necessities for survival. This still holds true for some of us, especially if you are currently in college or if you are a bachelor (sorry fellas). It was there for us during our Bagel Bites phase, and our Pizza Rolls phase, and most importantly our Hot Pocket phase, which some of us are currently still in.

The point of the matter is, the microwave has always been there when we needed it most. But has the microwave been secretly hurting us all along?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive answer to this question, so we decided to approach both sides of the argument.

Yes, microwaves are harmful to your health.

  • In 1991, there was a lawsuit in Oklahoma concerning the hospital use of a microwave to warm the blood needed in a transfusion. The case involved Norma Levitt, a hip surgery patient, who died from the blood transfusion. It appears that the nurse had warmed the blood in the microwave, making it very apparent that there is much more to “heating” with microwaves than most of us have been led to believe. Blood for transfusions is routinely warmed, but not normally in microwaves. In this case, the microwave altered the blood and killed her.
  • Many studies conducted throughout the world have repeatedly highlighted the negative affects on human health. In fact, microwave ovens were banned in Russia from 1976 to 1987.
  • An experiment conducted for a high school science fair verified the dangers of microwaves to not only humans, but even to plants and organic matter. The experiment showed that microwaved water given to a plant causes the plant to wither and die at a rapid pace, nine days to be exact. However, another identical plant was given water that was boiled on a conventional stove during the same time period and showed no adverse effects.

No, microwaves are not harmful to your health.

  • Contrary to the high school science fair experiment conducted, a concerned citizen took it into their own hands and performed the same experiment in a more controlled manner. The experiment added a third plant, as the control, and heated up the water in the same vessel, from the same source and were all kept in a carefully controlled environment. At the end of the experiment, all three plants were thriving.
  • Ninety percent of U.S. homes have a microwave, all of which are tightly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in terms of emissions. The FDA has regulations for the maximum radiation levels that microwave manufactures must follow. Some argue that it’s not worse than any other cooking method/ Almost all cooking methods can deactivate enzymes or destroy antioxidants, which is the sad truth when applying heat to food.
  • A study in 2003 examined the microwaving, boiling, and high-pressure cooking of broccoli and found that all slashed the flavonoid content.  The study concluded that microwaving food preserved the antioxidant capacity because of its shorter cooking time and minimal use of water.

Both sides can be argued with extreme validity. Most of us can agree though, that in this day in age, the microwave isn’t going anywhere. But, we’ll let you decide.