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  #1  
Old 05-18-2012, 06:28 PM
FastPassenger FastPassenger is offline
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Are microwave ovens banned in Russia?

My sister, a diehard conspiracist, insists on spreading via Facebook and email every fool thing she stumbles across on the internet or hears from friends. I've given up trying to disprove her whacky assertions. I'm sure she thinks I'm brainwashed along with most of the rest of the US. However her latest rant stated with great certainty that microwave ovens are bad for people and the Soviet Union banned them back in the 70's' ostensibly because their government cared more about them than ours does. I've poured over countless sites and have not found a conclusive answer, one way or the other. Are/were microwave ovens ever banned in the USSR or any other country for that matter?
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2012, 06:36 PM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
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According to this site microwave ovens were banned in the USSR in 1976. The ban was lifted under Gorbachev, in the 90s presumably.

This site looks more authoritative.

Quote:
The former Soviet Union may have banned microwaveovens for a short period, but no countries ban them today.

Last edited by aldiboronti; 05-18-2012 at 06:40 PM..
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  #3  
Old 05-18-2012, 08:59 PM
gunnergoz gunnergoz is offline
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Saw plenty of them in Ukraine in the past few years and that country was definitely part of the USSR. I would venture a guess that they were banned originally because there was no way that the Soviets could manufacture them cheaply enough to meet potential demand, would not import them, and so found reasons to find them "harmful" to all those happy workers.
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  #4  
Old 05-18-2012, 10:56 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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Just a WAG, but in the mid-70's, the Soviet Union might also not have had power generation and distribution capable of handling an extra 1000-1200 watts per household.
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  #5  
Old 05-18-2012, 11:04 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
Just a WAG, but in the mid-70's, the Soviet Union might also not have had power generation and distribution capable of handling an extra 1000-1200 watts per household.
They would have been smaller back then (right? or did they start bigger, then get smaller then bigger again), but my electric oven is nearly triple that (in watts) and needs to run for probably 25 minutes to do what a microwave can do in just a few minutes.
But if electricity was a problem, more ovens were probably gas.

Last edited by Joey P; 05-18-2012 at 11:05 PM..
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  #6  
Old 05-18-2012, 11:06 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Another thing is that a microwave oven isn't something that you want to make imperfectly. So if Soviet factories were as poor as I've heard, the microwave ovens they produce might not be safe to operate.
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  #7  
Old 05-18-2012, 11:35 PM
simple homer simple homer is offline
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Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
They would have been smaller back then (right? or did they start bigger, then get smaller then bigger again), but my electric oven is nearly triple that (in watts) and needs to run for probably 25 minutes to do what a microwave can do in just a few minutes.
But if electricity was a problem, more ovens were probably gas.

Electric oven ? In many countries people do not have the large electric ovens that you see in the USA.
In many countries people just have a gas stove or electric hotplate to do their cooking, no gas or electric ovens.

Last edited by simple homer; 05-18-2012 at 11:37 PM..
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  #8  
Old 05-19-2012, 12:10 AM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Originally Posted by FastPassenger View Post
the Soviet Union banned them back in the 70's
If she lived in Adult Land, she'd know it's up to the person making the claims to support them, not to the person doubting the claims to refute them.

Otherwise, I'm the King of Thailand and you can't prove I'm not.

Last edited by Derleth; 05-19-2012 at 12:11 AM..
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  #9  
Old 05-19-2012, 12:22 AM
terentii terentii is offline
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As one who's spent the last 20 years living in Moscow, I can assure you that microwave ovens have been here at least that long (I have a nice little Moulinex in my kitchen that I picked up at a nationwide household appliance/electronics vendor). They're everywhere.

Soviet-built microwaves were available in the late '80s (when I was here as a grad student), but the things were freakin' HUGE and poorly made (did you know that Soviet TVs were notorious for exploding on occasion?). In addition to shoddy workmanship, they probably also emitted huge quantities of radiation---which, knowing the Soviet government, probably was NOT all that great a concern; it was more important that they produce the same consumer goods as the West in a kind of dick-matching contest.

Probably the greatest thing putting most people off Soviet microwaves was their cost: they were NOT cheap (though I can't quote you a price right off the top of my head) at a time when the average person couldn't afford a decent automobile. It's a great tribute to the underground economy here that most people were able to afford microwaves back in the '90s, despite the image of poverty that the country projected (I think I paid $300 for mine back in '98).
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  #10  
Old 05-19-2012, 12:45 AM
hajario hajario is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terentii View Post
In addition to shoddy workmanship, they probably also emitted huge quantities of radiation---which, knowing the Soviet government, probably was NOT all that great a concern; it was more important that they produce the same consumer goods as the West in a kind of dick-matching contest..
Please tell me that you realize that there is a huge difference between microwave radiation and nuclear radiation.
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  #11  
Old 05-19-2012, 12:47 AM
terentii terentii is offline
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Originally Posted by hajario View Post
Please tell me that you realize that there is a huge difference between microwave radiation and nuclear radiation.
Yes, I know that. But excessive quantities of any kind of radiation are not good for you.
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  #12  
Old 05-19-2012, 01:04 AM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Originally Posted by terentii View Post
Yes, I know that. But excessive quantities of any kind of radiation are not good for you.
With microwave radiation, if it's hurting you, you can feel it burning. Like fire. Fire bad?
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  #13  
Old 05-19-2012, 01:09 AM
terentii terentii is offline
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
With microwave radiation, if it's hurting you, you can feel it burning. Like fire. Fire bad?
Ughhhh, fire heap bad, Kemosabe.

Maybe, like Soviet TVs, microwaves were responsible for fires in the few apartments that had them back then.

But, is fire the only bad thing that can result from being bombarded with excessive electromagnetic radiation? I think not, Watson!

Last edited by terentii; 05-19-2012 at 01:10 AM..
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  #14  
Old 05-19-2012, 01:28 AM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
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They're known as the Microwave Militia. They are like the truthers of the microwave oven world. They've been sending this crap around for years. Facebook is just the latest outlet.

A good example of their typical claims from one of their faithful, Lita Lee can be found here: Microwaves And Microwave Ovens By Lita Lee, Ph.D.

Quote:
Microwave ovens were originally developed by the Nazis for use in their mobile support operations. After the war, the Allies discovered medical research done by the Germans on microwave ovens. These documents and the microwave ovens were transferred to the United States War Department and classified for reference and scientific investigation. The Soviet Union also retrieved some microwave ovens and has done the most thorough research on their biological effects. As a result, their use is outlawed. The Soviets have issued an international warning on the health hazards (both biological and environmental) of microwave ovens and similar frequency electronic devices. Other Eastern European scientists reported the harmful effects of microwave radiation and have set strict environmental limits. For reasons not related to health (smile!), the United States has not accepted European reports of harmful effects, even though the EPA estimates that radiofrequency and microwave radiation sources are increasing at 15% per year.
She goes on to repeat most of the common myths about microwaves - radiation leakage, high levels of carcinogens in microwaved foods, decreased nutrients, chemical breakdowns of plastics into microwaved food, etc.

For a more rational analysis of all of these claims, try Fact vs. Fiction an article from 2005 by David Schardt, senior nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Quote:
It all started with Hans Hertel.

The Swiss food chemist and seven fellow vegetarians confined themselves to a hotel for two months in the late 1980s. There, they consumed milk and vegetables prepared in the microwave oven and in other ways.

Hertel emerged with an astonishing pronouncement. Eating microwaved milk and vegetables caused changes in the men's blood that "appear to indicate the initial stage of a pathological process such as occurs at the start of a cancerous condition."

Hertel didn't actually find that microwaved food caused cancer. And his "study," which no researchers have tried to reproduce, was never peer-reviewed of published in a scientific journal.

"Without knowing more about how he conducted his study, what he measured, how he measured it, and what he found, it's impossible to even begin to evaluate his findings," says Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University in Pullman.

Hertel has dropped out of public view. So has William Kopp, described only as a "U.S. researcher," who wrote an article in 1996 claiming that Cold War research in the Soviet Union had proven the dangers of microwave ovens.

"People who ingested microwaved foods showed a statistically higher incidence of stomach and intestinal cancers, plus a general degeneration of peripheral cellular tissues and a gradual breakdown of the function of the digestive and excretory systems," Kopp wrote.

The Soviet research was never published and the institute where it was conducted, in what is now the Republic of Belarus, no longer exists. (The former Soviet Union may have banned microwave ovens for a short period, but no countries ban them today.) Kopp himself reportedly changed his name and vanished, believing that the appliance industry was out to persecute him.
I guess it's his word against hers. (Note that Dr. Lees' article is followed by a lengthy legal disclaimer indicating that none of her information is substantiated, has been contested by scientific authorities, is not endorsed by anyone, and is for 'informational purposes only'. Dr. Schardts' attorneys don't appear to have required that of him.)
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  #15  
Old 05-19-2012, 01:43 PM
Michael63129 Michael63129 is offline
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Originally Posted by terentii View Post
But, is fire the only bad thing that can result from being bombarded with excessive electromagnetic radiation? I think not, Watson!
Yes, there is ionizing radiation and then there is non-ionizing radiation; microwaves are the latter - if microwaves were ionizing, then so would visible light (which is several orders of magnitude more energetic), meaning that we'd get cancer just from being exposed to light (UV is the point where ionization effects and associated chemical damage start). Visible light can even be used to cook food, albeit not as efficiently because it doesn't penetrate well (magnetrons are also more efficient than light bulbs, including LEDs).

For the same reason, microwaves don't produce carcinogens in food (or far less than high-temperature cooking, even if the food isn't browned, like starches), or destroy nutrients (except for those destroyed by heating, and in this case, the lower temperature, usually limited to the boiling point of water, and shorter cooking time preserves more nutrients, same reason for fewer carcinogens).
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  #16  
Old 05-19-2012, 02:23 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Originally Posted by terentii View Post
But, is fire the only bad thing that can result from being bombarded with excessive electromagnetic radiation? I think not, Watson!
You completely misunderstood what I said. I meant that microwaves are only dangerous in the same way fire is dangerous: If it's intense enough on your tissue to cause burns. Normal burns, like what you get from fire. It isn't ionizing, which means it can't really cause cancer any more than fire can.

Microwaves aren't anything special. They obey all the normal laws of physics, one of which is that photons need to be at least as energetic as the photons in the ultraviolet range to ionize molecules and cause damage that way. Microwave photons are less energetic than visible light photons, so if they could cause cancer so could all the light you're capable of seeing, meaning that microwaves would be the least of your worries.
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  #17  
Old 08-02-2012, 10:23 PM
Kiwi-Ian Kiwi-Ian is offline
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Bill Kopp invented the Soviet banning of microwave ovens, this was picked up by Anthony Wayne and Laurence Newell in their "article" The Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking which itself was picked up Joseph Mercola and the myth then spread. If you actually look at the sites that state that microwave ovens were banned you come across essentially repetitions of these articles but absolutely no evidence whatsoever. Several debunkers have asked Russian lawyers to find the relevant law, or the law supposedly repealing it, but to no avail.

It's a myth.

Another related myth is that the Nazis invented the microwave oven for use on the Eastern Front against the Soviets. The Germans weren't fools, if they had a cavity magnetron - the gizmo that creates the microwaves - they would have done exactly the same as the Brits (who did have it) and put it into a radar set and shoved it into every aeroplane they could. It's funny that despite our knowing about German top secret work on oil from shale, aerodynamics, jet engines, rockets, tank armour, etc, never have microwave ovens ever appeared on any list.

It's another myth.

Now how effective is that! One evil empire invents satanic microwave ovens, another evil empire finds them so demonic even they have to ban them, so if the evil people ban it why haven't we? Very very effective, based on the number of times these are quoted, but with absolutely no evidence whatsoever. None. Zip.

So if neither the Germans nor the Soviets had microwave ovens, how could they have done work on them? Now the whole house of cards starts to wobble.

Conclusion - myths, but very ably and effectively used myths.
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  #18  
Old 08-03-2012, 04:13 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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On the alleged dangers of radiation from microwave ovens:

In the mid-1970's, when microwave ovens were still fairly new-fangled at least for general public consumers, there was widespread fear over the safety of microwaves. It was widely reported that:
(a) Older microwave ovens tended to leak radiation, especially via poor fittings around the doors,
(b) Low-level microwave exposure, even low enough that you can't feel it, might produce some kind of health effects over the longer term. In particular, it was said to lead to cataracts of the eyes.

So people would pop that TV dinner in for some nuking, and quickly turn away or step away for the duration.

As of the late 1970's (when I first began to see microwave ovens in the company lunchroom where I worked), the common word on the street (aside from the paranoids) was that the newer ovens had resolved the leakage problems, and were safe.

Last edited by Senegoid; 08-03-2012 at 04:13 AM..
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  #19  
Old 08-03-2012, 08:35 AM
Freakenstein Freakenstein is offline
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" Microwave ovens were originally developed by the Nazis... "

Aaand that's where I stopped reading...
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  #20  
Old 08-03-2012, 09:51 AM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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Originally Posted by FastPassenger View Post
...Are/were microwave ovens ever banned in the USSR or any other country for that matter?
Per this 2008 MSNBC article, microwaves were "off limits to buy for everyone but foreigners and companies"in Cuba. The issue seemed largely to be the capacity of the electrical generation and distribution system.

Many other consumer electronics items were (possibly still are?) prohibited in Cuba. My fiance had some such items seized from her while she was in transit through Havana overnight. Customs somehow "misplaced" those items when she came back to claim them for her ongoing flight.
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  #21  
Old 08-03-2012, 11:52 AM
GusNSpot GusNSpot is offline
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So what is the deal about the dangers for people with pace makers?
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  #22  
Old 08-03-2012, 12:53 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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I got your mikrovolnovye pechi right here. 1,445 rubles to you, comrade.
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  #23  
Old 08-03-2012, 01:10 PM
KarlGauss KarlGauss is offline
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post

So people would pop that TV dinner in for some nuking, . . .
It's interesting to consider that the term "nuking" regarding microwave ovens is a legacy of that initial period of paranoia.
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  #24  
Old 08-03-2012, 01:17 PM
anson2995 anson2995 is offline
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
If she lived in Adult Land, she'd know it's up to the person making the claims to support them, not to the person doubting the claims to refute them.
That's not the way conspiracy theories work. It's definitely true, and any evidence to
the contrary is just part of (and proof of) the conspiracy.
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  #25  
Old 08-03-2012, 01:32 PM
Gagundathar Gagundathar is offline
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Gosh. I hadn't thought about the use of the word 'nuking' to describe cooking food with microwaves for a long time.
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  #26  
Old 08-03-2012, 01:39 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
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Originally Posted by GusNSpot View Post
So what is the deal about the dangers for people with pace makers?
Don't put your pace maker in the microwave?
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  #27  
Old 08-03-2012, 01:48 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GusNSpot View Post
So what is the deal about the dangers for people with pace makers?
Radio waves can cause interference to electrical devices. If you've ever left your cell phone near your computer, you'll often hear your speakers "chirp" due to radio waves from the cell phone inducing currents into the audio path in the computer. Basically, any piece of metal (like the wires or circuit board traces inside an electronic device, or the leads on a pacemaker) act like an antenna, and convert the incoming radio waves into electrical signals, which can then cause the device to malfunction. I've seen industrial controllers crash due to someone keying a walkie-talkie next to them, and the worst case that I've read about is a thrust reverser on an airplane accidentally deploying due to cell phone interference, causing a crash (they tell you to turn your cell phones off for a reason, folks).

A microwave oven is just a big radio transmitter that sends all of its radio waves into a metal box instead of being connected to an antenna. While the metal box keeps most of the radio waves inside of it, some do leak out. As long as the radiated power from these leaks is small enough, it's no biggie. Low levels of radio waves aren't harmful (as far as we can currently tell). The heat generated by the radio waves from your cell phone is so small that it's difficult to measure compared to the heat generated by your own body, for example. Microwaves do commonly cause interference though. Back when most folks had analog TVs, it was very common to see squiggly lines and such on your TV when you turned the microwave on nearby. These days, folks with wireless routers often lose their connection when the microwave is on, especially if the router happens to be very close to the microwave.

If your microwave knocks your laptop offline, no biggie. You'll reconnect as soon as the microwave turns off. If you have a pacemaker, though, the electrical currents induced into its leads can cause it to fire at the wrong time, which can totally whack out your heartbeat. That's a bit more serious.

Back in the 70s, this was much more of a problem. Big microwave ovens used in restaurants weren't shielded very well, and leaked much higher levels of radio waves. Even so, the power level wasn't high enough to cause damage to the cooks in the kitchen, who probably got more heat from the grills and deep fryers, but it was an increased risk to folks with pacemakers. Hence the warning signs that used to be common.

These days, improvements in the design and manufacturing of microwave ovens means that even the big ones used in restaurants don't leak as much. Also, pacemakers have improved quite a bit, and aren't anywhere near as sensitive to radio frequency interference. So folks with modern pacemakers really don't need to worry so much.

I think doctors still recommend that folks with pacemakers avoid going near microwave ovens, but the risk is very small compared to what it used to be. Back in the 70s, if you had a pacemaker you really needed to be a bit paranoid about avoiding radio noise. These days, you don't really need to worry about it.
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  #28  
Old 08-03-2012, 01:50 PM
cochrane cochrane is online now
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Originally Posted by Gagundathar View Post
Gosh. I hadn't thought about the use of the word 'nuking' to describe cooking food with microwaves for a long time.
On the other hand, I use my microwave so much, "nuking" is part of my everyday vocabulary and a word I use to describe microwave cooking without giving it a second thought.
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  #29  
Old 08-03-2012, 02:09 PM
FluffyBob FluffyBob is offline
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I would recommend deflection when dealing with this individual. Whenever she brings up the microwave stuff, pipe up about dangers fluorescent lighting and fluoridated drinking water. If that doesn't work try vaccinations.
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  #30  
Old 08-03-2012, 03:14 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
It's interesting to consider that the term "nuking" regarding microwave ovens is a legacy of that initial period of paranoia.
I never felt that way, nor got the impression from others. AFAICT, any use of any form of the verb "nuke" in this way was strictly colloquial. The very verb "to nuke" itself is colloquial to begin with.
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  #31  
Old 08-03-2012, 03:26 PM
Jake Jake is offline
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Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
It's interesting to consider that the term "nuking" regarding microwave ovens is a legacy of that initial period of paranoia.
Yeahbut, it's still fun to say...
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  #32  
Old 08-03-2012, 03:33 PM
KarlGauss KarlGauss is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
I never felt that way, nor got the impression from others. AFAICT, any use of any form of the verb "nuke" in this way was strictly colloquial. The very verb "to nuke" itself is colloquial to begin with.
As an old guy, I have no doubt that the implication of "nuking" in a microwave was based on the belief, at least initially, by some, that there was a radiation risk. It was a brand new technology (at least for the average consumer) and it used "radiation" That said, I think it was used sarcastically and almost mockingly towards those who feared said radiation almost as early on. YMMV.
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Old 08-03-2012, 04:50 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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I remember early microwave ovens being called "radar ranges". I don't recall the word "nuke" being used with respect to microwaves until the 1980s, and the term "radar range" was long dead by then.

Was "nuke" with respect to microwaves common in the 60s and 70s and I just missed it?
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  #34  
Old 08-03-2012, 05:59 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
chemical breakdowns of plastics into microwaved food, etc.
Wasn't there actually a reputable study done sometime in the not too distant past that showed that saran wrap or the film on top of microwave-able meals did in fact cause carcinogens to leak into the food being cooked? IIRC the experiments were conducted using sheets of plastic film (saran wrap) and cooking oil that was heated in a microwave.

Or was this another of those myths?
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  #35  
Old 08-03-2012, 06:34 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Originally Posted by Freakenstein View Post
" Microwave ovens were originally developed by the Nazis... "

Aaand that's where I stopped reading...
that would have been quite a surprise to Dr. Percy Spencer of Rayethon, who patented them (# 2,480,679) in 1949. His patent application actually showed them being used to pop popcorn!

Last edited by t-bonham@scc.net; 08-03-2012 at 06:37 PM..
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  #36  
Old 08-03-2012, 06:40 PM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
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Wasn't there actually a reputable study done sometime in the not too distant past that showed that saran wrap or the film on top of microwave-able meals did in fact cause carcinogens to leak into the food being cooked? IIRC the experiments were conducted using sheets of plastic film (saran wrap) and cooking oil that was heated in a microwave.

Or was this another of those myths?
It looks like the link I posted originally is no longer valid but I found a direct link (PDF) to the same paper.

It says:

Quote:
How safe are plastic wraps, frozen-food
trays, and microwave-safe containers
and packaging?

Plastic wrap. E-mails widely circulating
around the Internet warn that plastic
wraps release the carcinogen dioxin
when microwaved.

"Its a chemical impossibility because
the precursors for dioxin are not in the
plastic wrap", says George Sadler, a professor
of food packaging at the National
Center for Food Safety and Technology in
Summit, Illinois. The center is a consortium
of scientists from academia, the
Food and Drug Administration, and the
food industry.

"We are not aware of any plastics that
yield dioxin as a breakdown product,
absolutely none," adds Kristina Paquette
of the FDAs Office of Food Additive
Safety in College Park, Maryland.

"Ive seen another e-mail recently warning
against using plastic wrap because of
the phthalates it supposedly produces,"
says Sadler. (Phthalates make plastic flexible.)
"Manufacturers quit using those
many, many years ago."
but it does go on to say that using non-microwave approved plastics isn't a good idea because they may melt into your food. Whether or not the chemicals are carcinogens, they can't be good for you and should generally be avoided.
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  #37  
Old 08-03-2012, 11:21 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
I remember early microwave ovens being called "radar ranges". I don't recall the word "nuke" being used with respect to microwaves until the 1980s, and the term "radar range" was long dead by then.

Was "nuke" with respect to microwaves common in the 60s and 70s and I just missed it?
No, "radar range" isn't dead. The phrase, written as one word "Radarange" was and still is the trademarked brand-name of microwave ovens made by Amana. My current microwave oven, about 3 years old, is a modern Amana Radarange.

ETA: I don't remember specifically when I first heard the word "nuke" used this way. I kinda think it might have been around 1984.

Last edited by Senegoid; 08-03-2012 at 11:25 PM..
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  #38  
Old 08-04-2012, 12:09 AM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is offline
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No, "radar range" isn't dead.
Huh. I remember Amana Radarange commercials in the 70s but I don't remember seeing them since. I thought the brand had died out. Guess I was wrong.
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  #39  
Old 08-04-2012, 02:44 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Huh. I remember Amana Radarange commercials in the 70s but I don't remember seeing them since. I thought the brand had died out. Guess I was wrong.
AFAICT, Quasar has died out. I don't know that I've seen one of those for quite a while.
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:25 PM
GusNSpot GusNSpot is offline
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Thanks for the response. I'm old so I remember those warnings real well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Radio waves can cause interference to electrical devices. If you've ever left your cell phone near your computer, you'll often hear your speakers "chirp" due to radio waves from the cell phone inducing currents into the audio path in the computer.
:::: snip :::
modern pacemakers really don't need to worry so much.

I think doctors still recommend that folks with pacemakers avoid going near microwave ovens, but the risk is very small compared to what it used to be. Back in the 70s, if you had a pacemaker you really needed to be a bit paranoid about avoiding radio noise. These days, you don't really need to worry about it.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:25 PM
Quercus Quercus is offline
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Originally Posted by FluffyBob View Post
I would recommend deflection when dealing with this individual. Whenever she brings up the microwave stuff, pipe up about dangers fluorescent lighting and fluoridated drinking water. If that doesn't work try vaccinations.
Better, go old-school and rant about flouridation. Got to protect our Purity Of Essence, after all.

Of course, it's unlikely they'll appreciate the classics, so best of all is to find something the individual likes (but you don't), for instance diet cola, and make that the center of your rants. "I know! And have you heard about the carbonated water thing". After a few conversations, you can start asking them "Are you still drinking carbonated stuff?".

Eventually, every time they bring up microwaves (or anything else), you can just say condescendingly "Oh, sure, you're worried about microwaves, but you still drink that poison-water? Yeah, right."
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  #42  
Old 02-25-2014, 08:04 PM
Kiwi-Ian Kiwi-Ian is offline
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Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net View Post
that would have been quite a surprise to Dr. Percy Spencer of Rayethon, who patented them (# 2,480,679) in 1949. His patent application actually showed them being used to pop popcorn!
Er, US patents don't actually prove anything, Americans still believe that Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb (and the British say it was Thomas Swan and the Germans disagree with both).

That said, there is no actual evidence disproving Spencer's claim and no patents elsewhere. It certainly wasn't Nazi Germany.
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Old 02-26-2014, 04:37 PM
handsomeharry handsomeharry is offline
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I'm dubious of the radiation/nuking thing.

I think it was just the quick blast effect, sort of like a nuclear explosion. That's the feel I got from it. Press a button, kablam! you have a fried whatever.

When Rush came out with their Power Windows video, there was a big blast of lights/explosion/something and one of my witty friends quipped "I thought they got nuked!"
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Old 02-26-2014, 05:42 PM
74westy 74westy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Radio waves can cause interference to electrical devices. If you've ever left your cell phone near your computer, you'll often hear your speakers "chirp" due to radio waves from the cell phone inducing currents into the audio path in the computer. Basically, any piece of metal (like the wires or circuit board traces inside an electronic device, or the leads on a pacemaker) act like an antenna, and convert the incoming radio waves into electrical signals, which can then cause the device to malfunction. I've seen industrial controllers crash due to someone keying a walkie-talkie next to them, and the worst case that I've read about is a thrust reverser on an airplane accidentally deploying due to cell phone interference, causing a crash (they tell you to turn your cell phones off for a reason, folks).

A microwave oven is just a big radio transmitter that sends all of its radio waves into a metal box instead of being connected to an antenna. While the metal box keeps most of the radio waves inside of it, some do leak out. As long as the radiated power from these leaks is small enough, it's no biggie. Low levels of radio waves aren't harmful (as far as we can currently tell). The heat generated by the radio waves from your cell phone is so small that it's difficult to measure compared to the heat generated by your own body, for example. Microwaves do commonly cause interference though. Back when most folks had analog TVs, it was very common to see squiggly lines and such on your TV when you turned the microwave on nearby. These days, folks with wireless routers often lose their connection when the microwave is on, especially if the router happens to be very close to the microwave.

If your microwave knocks your laptop offline, no biggie. You'll reconnect as soon as the microwave turns off. If you have a pacemaker, though, the electrical currents induced into its leads can cause it to fire at the wrong time, which can totally whack out your heartbeat. That's a bit more serious.

Back in the 70s, this was much more of a problem. Big microwave ovens used in restaurants weren't shielded very well, and leaked much higher levels of radio waves. Even so, the power level wasn't high enough to cause damage to the cooks in the kitchen, who probably got more heat from the grills and deep fryers, but it was an increased risk to folks with pacemakers. Hence the warning signs that used to be common.

These days, improvements in the design and manufacturing of microwave ovens means that even the big ones used in restaurants don't leak as much. Also, pacemakers have improved quite a bit, and aren't anywhere near as sensitive to radio frequency interference. So folks with modern pacemakers really don't need to worry so much.

I think doctors still recommend that folks with pacemakers avoid going near microwave ovens, but the risk is very small compared to what it used to be. Back in the 70s, if you had a pacemaker you really needed to be a bit paranoid about avoiding radio noise. These days, you don't really need to worry about it.
A few years ago, my mother was hospitalized and the family was gathered around her bed to learn that she was getting a pacemaker. It was all very solemn until I asked if I could have her microwave.

She still has it so I guess her doctors weren't too worried.
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:19 PM
kylen kylen is offline
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Not only legal, but available for sale online!

LMGTFU, Comrade
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Old 02-26-2014, 10:34 PM
OldOlds OldOlds is offline
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Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
It looks like the link I posted originally is no longer valid but I found a direct link (PDF) to the same paper.

It says:

but it does go on to say that using non-microwave approved plastics isn't a good idea because they may melt into your food. Whether or not the chemicals are carcinogens, they can't be good for you and should generally be avoided.
I am in no way condemning microwaves or the use of plastics therein, but all plastics have a certain "extractables/leachables" profile, and adding heat absolutely increases the quantity of these chemicals released into the food. In my line of work, pharmaceutical development, we spend a lot of effort making sure that our containers dont contaminate our products, especially when they sit for long periods of time. As far as i know, the requirements for food are much less stringent, and so i dont think we have good profiles for all the different plastics that end up in a microwave. Add to that that the saran wrap people have no idea what you will put into contact with their product (acids, oils, alcohols, etc) and i am confident that we are pulling out a fair number of undesireable compounds. How much and how bad they are is probably noy well known. That said, i am also confident the risk is fairly low. But thats just an assumption on my part.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:02 AM
Crazyhorse Crazyhorse is offline
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Originally Posted by OldOlds View Post
I am in no way condemning microwaves or the use of plastics therein, but all plastics have a certain "extractables/leachables" profile, and adding heat absolutely increases the quantity of these
For "microwave safe" plastic it needs to leech less than what is considered an acceptable amount of acceptable things into the food at the temperature it is expected to reach. I'm no expert on the subject but I'm pretty sure in the USA at least the FDA requires those who advertise plastic for use in microwaves to demonstrate that it falls within acceptable levels of acceptable things leeching into the food, not that it doesn't leech any trace amount of anything.
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:07 AM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
I got your mikrovolnovye pechi right here. 1,445 rubles to you, comrade.
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Originally Posted by kylen View Post
Not only legal, but available for sale online!

LMGTFU, Comrade
FastPassenger, *please* send these links to your sister and let us know her response. I think we all know she won't change her mind, but I'm very curious how she'll explain these links. My first guess is she'll deny these are from Russia, and then the next excuse will be that although the pages are hosted in Russia, they are being sold only to customers not in Russia.
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  #49  
Old 02-27-2014, 09:08 AM
Revtim Revtim is offline
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Shit, I didn't realize this a zombie thread.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:44 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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Originally Posted by Crazyhorse View Post
Note that Dr. Lees' article is followed by a lengthy legal disclaimer indicating that none of her information [...] is for 'informational purposes only'.

No kidding?
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