Microwaves action on milk for infants

Bert Gold gold at astro.ocis.temple.edu
Sat Jan 7 09:40:34 EST 1995

When I first started sterilizing microfuge tubes in the Bogorad Lab
at Harvard, using a microwave, Sabeeha Merchant (now at UCLA) kept
warning me that the microwave should not be used for sterilizing.
(I was going about 20 minutes on high, with snap-capped tubes closed,
and placed in a 1 liter pyrex beaker; some tubes at the bottom melted,
so there was some melted plastic smell, but the tubes always got
sterile.)  Since Sabeeha and I sometimes got contentious with each
other in those days, I challenged her as to where she got her information.
She told me that she had read this in the directions to the microwave
oven.  So, I looked at them.

If memory serves me correctly, the directions to the microwave did indeed
say that the oven should not be used for baby bottles. But, (being a
reasonably good scientist), I concluded that the manufacturer had
given the warning as a legal disclaimer, rather than as a statement
of scientific fact about the correct use of the microwave oven.
Which is to say, in litigious America, even if a tool can be used
for a thing (microwaves or pressure cookers for sterilizing), manufacturers
no longer state that it can, unless Congress passes a bill to
provide product liability insurance for them, gratis. 

Anyway, that's my two cents; I think it's a legal thing, not a
scientific thing at all.

Bert Gold, Ph.D., pro se
Temple and Jefferson

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