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Author Topic: Hertel and Blanc, microwaves and cancer. (long)
dlloyd
I Saw Three Shipments


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I was having a discussion on another forum regarding microwave ovens and their safety. One of the pieces of evidence cited to support the contention that microwaves are unsafe was a study carried out in the early nineties by two Swiss individuals, Hans Ulrich Hertel, who worked as a "food scientist" for an unnamed, but supposedly large Swiss Food Company (Nestle?) and Bernard H Blanc of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the "University Institute for Biochemistry" (is that a real institute?)

The "research" in question was rejected for funding, but the researchers felt it was so important, they funded it theirselves.

The "research" cited involved eight individuals housed at the "Macrobiotic Institute at Kientel" fed occasionally on raw, conventionally cooked and microwaved foods, including

1. Raw milk from a "biofarm"
2. Same milk conventionally cooked
3. Pasteurised milk
4. Raw milk cooked in a microwave
5. Raw vegetables from an organic farm
6. Same vegetables conventionally cooked
7. Same vegetables frozen and defrosted in a microwave
8. Same vegetables cooked in a microwave.

The "researchers" (at least one of whom was also a test subject) had blood taken before the meal and in defined intervals following. It is not stated whether they wore tinfoil helmets.

They looked at haemoglobin levels, cholesterol levels, lymphocytes and (apparently to test levels of "microwave energy" passed on to the subjects) levels of bioluminescence in bacteria exposed to serum from the subjects.

The conclusion was that "microwaves cause cancer". Blanc later distanced himself from the conclusions.

Apparently this "research" was published... somewhere. I haven't found it in any of the usual databases.

The "researchers" were taken to court by a Swiss household gadget association and effectively gagged, although this was apparently overturned later by some European court, citing freedom of speech.

Apparently both "researchers" lost their jobs.

I'll make no specific comment about the "research" in question.

Hertel now lectures at events sponsered by the "World Foundation for Natural Science" the subtitle of whose webpage is "The New World Franciscan Scientific Endeavour of The Universal Church. Restoring and Healing the World through Responsibility and Commitment, in accord with with Natural and Divine Law"

http://www.naturalscience.org
(has to be seen to be believed)

Now, searching on the "researchers'" names on Google and you'd get the impression that both were reputable scientists. At least so it says on various food conspiracy theory websites. I'd like to find out a bit more about them, but it appears the illuminati have erased them from conventional sources.

Can anyone find more about Hertel and Blanc? Damned if I can.

Posts: 99 | From: Dundee | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I don't know much about Hertel and Blanc, but this is interesting because the research sounds very much as though it's what a random drunken Kenyan chef ranted about to me for an hour, on a train between Leeds and Sheffield a few weeks ago. I thought he was just making it up.

As well as microwaves, he blamed the world's problems on mortgages, credit cards, divorce, Bush and Blair, religious intolerance and the "war on terror", black holes (I think - not sure I caught that part as he had a very strong accent and kept lapsing into what was probably Swahili) and colonialism. He also blamed "democracy" for the fact that he'd been told it was a fast train when it wasn't. He may have meant capitalism - I didn't manage to clarify that.

Sorry to hijack the thread. I don't know how I seem to get into random situations like that. At least I didn't give this guy my phone number, by virtue of pretending not to understand him when he asked for it.

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RLobinske
Deck the Malls


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Well, I would say that the complete lack of replication in the experimental design described would indicate that, at least, these were not very skilled scientists. [dunce]

They also must've used some interesting twists of thought to link measurements of the investigated parameters to cancer. [Roll Eyes]

ETA to clarify sentence.

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dlloyd
I Saw Three Shipments


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A couple of statements by Hertel:

quote:
[...C]ells are forced to adapt to a state of energy emergency: they switch from aerobic to anaerobic respiration. Instead of water and carbon dioxide, hydrogen peroxide and carbon monoxide are produced.
quote:
It is not chemistry, but energy on which we thrive. It is not the molecules of protein or sugar, for instance, that our bodies require, but the energy they consist of, which is manifested in the structures of these molecules. We live from the energy which has built these chemical structures. So chemically understood are for instance, both natural and artificial vitamin Cs identical. Nevertheless, while naturally occurring vitamin C is manifested in beautiful crystalline structures, pharmaceutically produced vitamin C tends to form amorphous clumps.
Apparently Hertel is an agronomist by training.

http://www.zeitenschrift.net/magazin/1-microwave.ihtml

Edit:

And the exact wording of the conclusion was:

quote:
"Food, heated by microwaves, causes pathogenic changes in the blood of individuals who consume such food, similar to what is seen in the initial stages of cancer."

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snapdragonfly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by dlloyd:
A couple of statements by Hertel:

quote:
[...C]ells are forced to adapt to a state of energy emergency: they switch from aerobic to anaerobic respiration. Instead of water and carbon dioxide, hydrogen peroxide and carbon monoxide are produced.
quote:
It is not chemistry, but energy on which we thrive. It is not the molecules of protein or sugar, for instance, that our bodies require, but the energy they consist of, which is manifested in the structures of these molecules. We live from the energy which has built these chemical structures. So chemically understood are for instance, both natural and artificial vitamin Cs identical. Nevertheless, while naturally occurring vitamin C is manifested in beautiful crystalline structures, pharmaceutically produced vitamin C tends to form amorphous clumps.
Apparently Hertel is an agronomist by training.


http://www.zeitenschrift.net/magazin/1-microwave.ihtml

Edit:

And the exact wording of the conclusion was:

quote:
"Food, heated by microwaves, causes pathogenic changes in the blood of individuals who consume such food, similar to what is seen in the initial stages of cancer."

slight hijack I agree about the bizarre random rambling and questionable scientific processes and such, but if the part I put in italics is true,about vitamin C, that does seem to to be a quantifiable, objective fact that - while not conclusive in and of itself as to any risks - would seem to at least give some validity as to at least asking questions about man made vs. naturally occuring vitamin c.

--------------------
"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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If it is true, is it to do with the "handedness" of the molecule? There are left-handed and right-handed optical isomers of ascorbic acid (L-ascorbic acid and D-ascorbic acid), and the one used in the body - the naturally occuring one - is L-ascorbic acid.

I couldn't find anything on-line to back this up in a quick search - nothing I understood, anyway - but depending on the "artificial" process used to make ascorbic acid, it's possible it could create a mixture of isomers. And this mixture would be less likely to crystallize neatly than a pure sample of one isomer or the other.

However, if that is true, and is what they mean, then I think they're being misleading because as far as I can tell, "Vitamin C" only refers to L-ascorbic acid, and so a proper pharmaceutical sample should only contain the correct isomer anyway. It could still be that the manufacturing process isn't perfect though... an actual biochemist like TurquoiseGirl might know the answer.

Even if the pharmaceutical stuff does contain some D-ascorbic acid, all that would mean is that those molecules wouldn't be used by the body. Whether or not it forms pretty crystals is somewhat irrelevant.

(edit) The common ways to make ascorbic acid seem to be the Reichstein process or a method using yeast, and it appears they both specifically make L-ascorbic acid, so probably my hypothesis is wrong.

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dlloyd
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
If it is true, is it to do with the "handedness" of the molecule? There are left-handed and right-handed optical isomers of ascorbic acid (L-ascorbic acid and D-ascorbic acid), and the one used in the body - the naturally occuring one - is L-ascorbic acid.

Yep, I can only assume he's talking about the difference between the crystallisation of a racemic mixture and that of pure enantiomers.
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RLobinske
Deck the Malls


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It's very possible the only real difference between the crystal form of "natural" vitamin C and the "amorphous" synthetic is the method of separation and drying.
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