Nuking Food Safely

News Note

By Lara Evans Bracciante

Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, August/September 2005.

The microwave — that ubiquitous appliance now found in every kitchen — is, for the most part, safe. However, microwaves do come with some specific health risks, including microwave exposure and chemical contamination. According to the publication Environmental Nutrition, following a few guidelines can help you effectively and safely use your microwave.

To Avoid Microwave Leakage:

• Ensure a tight seal by regularly cleaning the door seal with water and a mild detergent.

• Avoid microwaves that have loose doors. If the door doesn’t close tightly, don’t use it.

• Keep your distance, standing at least two feet away from, and to the side of, operating microwaves.

To Prevent Chemical Exposure:

• Avoid heating food in plastic or Styrofoam, which contain plasticizers. These leach into food during microwaving, creating xenoestrogens — substances that mimic hormones in the body and have been associated with birth defects, developmental delays, low sperm counts in men, early puberty in girls, and an increased risk of certain cancers.

• Steer clear of plastic wraps to cover your food during microwaving. Most of these also contain plasticizers that can leach into food, especially if they come in contact with hot, high-fat food.

• Use microwaveable glass cookware to ensure safe microwaving.