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Cooking vessels' solvency.

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Homemade shampoo or c
From: douglas.wiggins.nwcs.org (Douglas Wiggins)
Date: Tue, 23 May 1995 21:13:00 GMT

> I know some who use a microwave for the simmering, but.... not me! I don't want to maybe (?) put something back in water I have paid people to take stuff out of!!

For those interested in using the microwave for preparing herbal concoctions, please note that the microwave does not put anything into the material being cooked; in fact, it is preferable to use a plastic or glass container in a microwave rather than a stainless container on the stove, as the stainless usually contains copper which acts as a catalyst on many essential oils and other organic compounds. Of course, plastic might add something to some organics, as plastic is also an organic compound and "like dissolves like"; glass can also add something to a solution, unless the glass is a low-extractable borosilicate, and even then some traces of elements may leach out of the glass - this is not really a problem that anyone in a hobby position should worry about, though, as the amount of leachant which will come from any glass in short contact will probably only be enough to be measured in a lab; however lead glass, called "crystal" by the average person, can leach so much lead into the liquid contained in it that alcoholic beverages stored in crystal decanters for years have been measured to have _many_ times the maximum US legal limit of lead).

All the the microwave does is to cause the molecules and atoms to move faster - about the worst thing that can happen is that your body will receive low-frequency electromagnetic radiation from the electronics of the oven (the kind of electromagnetic radiation which is being blamed for increased incidence of cancers and such under power lines); it should not be a problem as long as one keeps a distance from the oven while cooking (I've no idea of what is a safe distance, though - there are testers on the market, but according to Consumer Reports, they are so unreliable that they are not worth the money they cost, giving a different reading depending upon the angle they are held, etc.)

-Douglas Wiggins zoron.nwcs.org, Portland, Oregon
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