Did Russia ban microwave ovens at some point in the past?


The Internet is filled with misinformation (especially blogs) about microwaves and microwave ovens. They all seem to direct their focus on the supposed dangers of the ovens, the foods heated in them, the packaging and more. Many are scientifically flawed and generally inaccurate. One such rumor that has been lighting up the internet is the claim that, in the past, Russia had banned microwave ovens. Within IMPI we could not find a source for this assertion, though one of our members, the eminent engineer and scientist Dr. John Osepchuk wrote the rebuttal, below.  -- Bob Schiffmann, President R.F. Schiffmann Associates, Inc. and IMPI's current President

 There Was No Ban on Microwave Ovens in the USSR.

In the last issue, Bob Schiffmann stated that the “Russians did for some short period of time ban the sale of microwave ovens.” I believe this is not true and in the following I present ample evidence supporting my belief. I have been intimately involved with microwave ovens since 1968 and I have in my extensive historical coverage {1,2] of the field cited evidence of development of microwave ovens in the USSR in the 1970’s , including a brochure on “A superhigh-frequency oven” in 1971, an ad for the “Electronika” oven in 1980 and discussions with Soviet scientists on ovens in 1977. But the evidence is even much more extensive and so I present here a record of the many events that support the idea that microwave ovens never were banned in the USSR.

Key events:

1969: Dr Karel Marha, of Czechoslovakia, presents paper at the 1969 Richmond symposium on microwave bioeffects and visits Raytheon Co. He prepared an affidavit that describes how leakage radiation is monitored near microwave ovens in Czechoslovakia, --at a horizontal distance of at least 25 cm. from the oven door and at the height of the head and gonads. He contributes a paper describing safety considerations in “Eastern Europe” for the special issue of the IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory & Techniques in 1971 for which I was guest editor. No mention of bans ever came from Dr. Marha.

1973: At the IMPI symposium in Loughborough, in the U.K., there were extensive discussions on the safety of microwave ovens and Dr. P. Czerski, of Poland agreed with me at the podium that the U.S. “emission standard” for microwave ovens was compatible with exposure standards in Eastern Europe, and therefore there was no reason why ovens with leakage limits as in the U.S. would not be acceptable in the Eastern European countries.. These views were also included in a symposium in Poland which Dr. P. Czerski chaired. My contact with Dr. Czerski was extensive including a visit by him to my home with many hours of stimulating discussions.

1976: IMPI symposium in Belgium—no reports of a ban on microwave ovens in the USSR.

1970’s: In the world of international frequency allocations it is known that in the USSR there is the ISM band at 2.375 GHz for microwave ovens. But at the 1979 World Administrative Conference the USSR agreed to move the ISM band to 2.45 GHz making the 2.45 GHz band recognized throughout the world.

1977: At the IMPI symposium (I believe in Minneapolis) I had extensive discussions with Drs. Los and Dumansky from the Ukraine. No mention of any ban on ovens.

1977; 1979; At conferences on microwave bioeffects in Airlie , Virginia and Seattle, WA extensive discussions are held with scientists and engineers from the USSR and no hint of an oven ban is ever mentioned.

~1980: I had extensive discussions with a celebrated engineer, who had defected from the USSR, on microwave technology in the USSR—both at Raytheon and in Washington, D. C. where he lived.—no mention of a ban on ovens.

1980’s  --the present. I attended many meetings of the Bioelectromagnetics Society where scientists from Eastern Europe were often present. Never did I hear about a ban on microwave ovens.2

~1995: At both the IMPI symposium and a conference on crossed-field tubes at the University of Michigan there was evidence of microwave oven development in Russia but no mention of a ban.

---1968 – the present; I have attended almost all of the IMPI symposia. Even though many of the attendees are from Europe—e.g. Per Risman, never have I heard at an IMPI meeting the rumor that ovens were banned in the USSR.

1980’s to the present; Many contacts with representatives of magnetron suppliers in Russia, including Istok/Svetlana; with no mention of an oven ban

In addition to my experience I asked two people who visited the USSR many times in the last 40 years and they both report never hearing of a ban on microwave ovens while in the USSR—cf. Prof. A.W. Guy who made at least 12 trips and Ric Tell (of EPA fame) who made several trips.

As cited above, we in Raytheon were able to procure and test the “Electronika” oven. It operated at 2.45 GHz and showed leakage values between 0.5 and 1.0 mW/cm2—i.e. good enough to pass the FDA emission standard even though never legally processed for imports. It is interesting to read the ad (translation) for this oven in the Russian “Economic News” in the Spring of 1980.

Microwave Electric-Oven “Elektronika

Latest development in consumer cooking technology

It is very convenient to prepare food in this oven—no necessity to use pots or pans. One can warm up and prepare food fast right on the platter on which the food will be served.

In the “Electronika” oven, products don’t dry out or boil away as much.

Time of preparation is significantly reduced. For example, lamb is ready in 9 minutes; baked peroshki in 30 seconds.

Time settings free one from the necessity of constantly watching over the cooking process. The “Elecktronika” is compact and contemporarily styled. It will grace the kitchen with its appearance.

It operates at 220 Volts, with a maximum usable power of 1.65 kilowatts, dimensions 610x485x306 mm.; weight 45 kg. Price 297 rubles.

Available at Stores of “Electroconsumer-Agency” (“Electrobitorga”) Telepress-agency-ad.

In sum, the extensive experience of some of my colleagues and myself over the last 45 years shows no evidence of a ban of microwave ovens in the USSR.

It is true that there have been great differences in exposure standards between the USSR and the U.S. but even those differences may be explained away [3[

We conclude that the rumors about a ban on microwave ovens as well as the rumor that the Nazis invented the microwave oven are false and it appears these reports on the Internet originate with sources that have a goal of damning microwave ovens as unsafe both from the concerns about “radiation” as well as alleged deleterious effects on food


1.J.M.Osepchuk, “A history of microwave heating applications,”IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory & Techniques, vol. MTT-32, pp. 1200 – 1224, September, 1984

2. J. M. Osepchuk, “The History of the Microwave Oven: A Critical Review”, Digest IEEE  Int. Microwave Symposium. pp. 1397 – 1400, 2009

3. J. M. Osepchuk, “Environmental Standards: the New Concept and Key to International Harmonization of Safety Standards for the Safe Use of Electromagnetic Energy.” Digest IEEE Int. Symposium on Technology  and Society (ISTAS04), pp. 165 – 173, 2004.



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  1. After the World War II, the Russians also experimented with microwave ovens. From 1957 up to recently, their research has been carried out mainly at the Institute of Radio Technology at Klinsk, Byelorussia. According to US researcher William Kopp, who gathered much of the results of Russian and German research – and was apparently prosecuted for doing so (J. Nat. Sci, 1998; 1:42-3) – the following effects were observed by Russian forensic teams:

    1.Heating prepared meats in a microwave sufficiently for human consumption created:
    * d-Nitrosodiethanolamine (a well-known cancer-causing agent)
    * Destabilization of active protein biomolecular compounds
    * Creation of a binding effect to radioactivity in the atmosphere
    * Creation of cancer-causing agents within protein-hydrosylate compounds in milk and cereal grains;
    2. Microwave emissions also caused alteration in the catabolic (breakdown) behavior of glucoside – and galactoside – elements within frozen fruits when thawed in this way;
    3. Microwaves altered catabolic behavior of plant-alkaloids when raw, cooked or frozen vegetables were exposed for even very short periods;
    4. Cancer-causing free radicals were formed within certain trace-mineral molecular formations in plant substances, especially in raw root vegetables;
    5. Ingestion of micro-waved foods caused a higher percentage of cancerous cells in blood;
    6. Due to chemical alterations within food substances, malfunctions occurred in the lymphatic system, causing degeneration of the immune system’s capacity to protect itself against cancerous growth;
    7. The unstable catabolism of micro-waved foods altered their elemental food substances, leading to disorders in the digestive system;
    8. Those ingesting micro-waved foods showed a statistically higher incidence of stomach and intestinal cancers, plus a general degeneration of peripheral cellular tissues with a gradual breakdown of digestive and excretory system function;
    9. Microwave exposure caused significant decreases in the nutritional value of all foods studied, particularly:
    * A decrease in the bioavailability of B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, essential minerals and lipotrophics
    * Destruction of the nutritional value of nucleoproteins in meats
    * Lowering of the metabolic activity of alkaloids, glucosides, galactosides and nitrilosides (all basic plant substances in fruits and vegetables)
    * Marked acceleration of structural disintegration in all foods.

    As a result microwave ovens were banned in Russia. However, in 1976; the ban was lifted after Perestroika much to the unhealthful benefits to the Russian peoples.

    In Final Summary
    If anyone that you care about is still using the microwave oven for any reason, please show them this research. The doubts alone should cause them to reconsider the statistics that something is wrong with the society that has now rampant cancer and degenerative diseases. Monumental opposition to these ideas may arise; however, persevere in reviewing this research. Prayerfully reconsider that what was ‘safe’ in smoking, and in taking certain drugs a few decades ago is now proven to be most harmful. In our research, the food was irreparable and prayer did not change the damage of our test food. What was a curse to this water and food remained a curse. The vital force was completely removed. Our answer to prayer demonstrated that our Almighty God has placed a curse upon the microwave usage when He did not reverse the microwave use damage. One must remember that nature has natural laws that can not be disregarded. The bottom line is that in the matter of a modern microwave oven to heat water or food and to cook food no use is safe. The use of the microwave oven is one well planned war against you and your family that the enemy Satan is using to enfeeble you and leave you permanently hooked into his evil system of continued pharmaceutical use. The lessons that we have grasped from this study is that the nature laws were violated and what violates nature laws are a curse to mankind. Obedience to Heaven’s given commands and instructions are our blessings. What our Heavenly Father has instructed us from the Sacred Scriptures is that our bodies are a living Temple and that we must prayerfully consider how we keep our gift. You are forewarned, act promptly and destroy your microwave! The microwave oven is not safe for anything period.

  2. There are some people that are concerned about dirty electricity – EMF, (Electromagnetic Field). How much is this a real issue when living in an older home, or planning and constructing a new home? The market place has special filters for sale to lower the readings to what is considered healthy levels. What are the parameters that I should use when buying filters?

  3. Pingback: The Case Against Microwaves

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