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Science Fact or Fiction?

August 30, 2006
He who takes medicine and neglects his diet wastes the skill of his doctors.
 ~Chinese proverb

That’s what I wonder any time the good folks down at FDA make one of their breakthrough announcements.

For instance, is microwaving your food in plastic dangerous or not? According to a recent article, the FDA says it’s not. As long as the container displays the “microwave safe” icon that is.

But I don’t know about you, I’m a bit skeptical.

A big reason for that is the FDA acknowledges that even approved containers leak chemicals that can leach out into our food. But in their infinite wisdom they’ve ascertained that certain levels are safe for us consumers.

Their best guess: 100-1000 times less per pound of body weight than what has been shown to harm lab animals over a lifetime of usage. Only containers that are inside those parameters can carry the “microwave safe” icon.

Feel better? Because I sure don’t!

Personally I’d like to know exactly what the FDA’s idea of safe is, and how it applies to me specifically.

Safe: Safe how, safe it wont kill me -- or safe it might kill me 20 years from now? Safe like it will never kill me but I might end up impotent or blind by my 50th birthday – I’d really like to know.

Because it wouldn’t be the first time the FDA has hung us out to dry. Between the hormones and antibiotics used on our livestock, the pesticides on our produce and the binders and preservatives in just about every package food on your grocery store shelves.

It really makes you wonder -- what’s their definition of safe?!

I’m sure we can all remember DDT right? They got away with spraying that poison on our food for years until the government finally banned using the toxin in 1973. But even with the ban -- trace amounts of DDT can still be found in our soil some 30 years later!

From my perspective if there are side effects then it’s not safe. But I guess the FDA and I don’t see eye to eye on that one.

How does this apply to me: I weigh about 200 lbs – my sister only weighs about 120 – is it safe for both of us? What if I only weighed 50 lbs. – am I still OK?

What if I already have a pre-existing medical condition – then do I have to worry? It’s these any many questions just like them that haunt my dreams when I read articles like these.

My recommendations to avoid any possibilities exposure:

1) Use your microwave as little as possible. I’ve read numerous studies on microwave energy and its effects on different foods, and let’s just say it’s best to use the stove whenever possible.

2) Never microwave anything in a plastic take out container. This includes plastic plates, cups and anything else disposable.

3) Use glass or ceramic containers whenever possible. I find they heat your food more evenly and many of them can be used in the oven a well. So you get twice the bang for your buck.

It’s situations like these I wish I could tell you exactly what to do, but unfortunately the jury is still out on this one.

So my best advice is, better safe than sorry…

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Did you know?

According to the Guinness Book of World Records the highest fall survived without a parachute happened when Vesna Vulovic. A flight attendant from Yugoslavia, survived a fall from 33,330 ft. when the DC-9 airplane she was traveling in exploded over Czechoslovakia on January 26, 1972. A terrorist bomb was thought to be the cause, and no other passengers survived. Vesna broke both legs in the fall and was temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. Now-a-days she just takes the bus.

Stay Healthy!

Doc Darville
NatureCast News

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