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Saturday, November 19, 2011

University of Princeton email about the magnetic effect on food

Ana received on of those spam emails. The message was about the danger of having magnets on the refrigerator door. The email seemed somewhat exaggerated, this was the message:

"Researchers at Princeton University have discovered a terrible thing. For several months they feed two groups of rats, one group with food stored in a refrigerator, and the other one with food stored in a refrigerator with several decorative magnets on the door. The purpose of study was to see how they affect the electromagnetic radiation in food. Surprisingly, after rigorous clinical studies they concluded that the group of rats that ate irradiated foods by the magnets has 87% more chances of contracting cancer. "

We found several explanations, some more scientific then others. We found some people that swore this was true, others had a cousin, that has an uncle that has a friend in Princeton University.

Some facts:
  • Fridge magnets magnetic field is very low.
  • In any case the iron from the refrigerator absorb most of radiations, therefore what goes "inside" the refrigerator is not measurable.
  • All electric refrigerators are inevitably driven by electrical motors, in those, electric field changes are much stronger than the magnets.
  • The earth has a magnetic field, we live surrounded by it.
  • Food is not magnetic therefore is not influenced by magnetic fields.
Some logical arguments:

This email says, the researchers at Princeton University with headquarters at USA found out the fridge magnets on the refrigerator doors of many families all over the world should be trashed because they have a adverse effect on the food, and could significantly increase cancer risk.

As we can read on the email: "rigorous clinical studies", using two groups of rats, shown that, the group that consumed "irradiated" food from the fridge with the magnets has 87% more chance of having cancer, then the other group.

First of all, as always my mother taught me, if you are going to lie avoid the  details, there is no reference to such a study at Princeton University.

Besides, there is no credible evidences to say that a fridge magnet can have such a impact on food. A fridge magnet is a  small low power permanent magnet. A permanent magnet is made from magnetized material, and create his own persistent magnetic field.

There is a intensive debate about magnetic radiation and adverse health effects, like the one generated by cellphones.
However, permanent magnets have been used for a variety of proposes, and there is no evidences that allow us to connect them with cancer or any other health problem.

The email seems to ignore the fact the refrigerator use several components that generate magnetic fields. Many modern fridges have door seals with magnets and contain magnetic strips which help to keep the door closed.

Lastly if the message informations were true, the study would be widely publicized in the media, and in the specialized press, the absence of any of these reports is, in itself, sufficient to identify the false alert.

Sources: Hoax- Slayer; Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia
Universidade de Princeton- Investigação

Et voilá
Don't believe everything you read


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