Ever since the microwave was created, there have been questions about the product’s safety. This is largely due to the fact that a microwave oven uses radiation to cook food so quickly. Even though microwave ovens are in use everywhere, people still wonder if the radiation may harm them over time.
It’s important to note that this type of concern is nothing new. Whenever a new product rolls out onto the market, questions, concerns and complaints rise to the surface. The World Health Organization has addressed this public concern and stated that microwaves are safe when properly used.
How A Microwave Does Its Job
The word “microwave” is not only a name for the oven itself; it is also a description of the type of energy the oven uses. Microwaves are high frequency radio waves that are used for many different applications, such as radar, broadcasting, telecommunications and various kinds of medical treatments. They are absorbed by ordinary foods but pass easily through materials like plastic, paper and glass.
Food cooked in a microwave oven is not radioactive. Microwave ovens use a very tiny amount of electromagnetic radiation which loses potency very quickly when food is removed from the microwave. That is why you may have noticed that foods heated in the microwave cool down more rapidly than those heated in a conventional oven.
Using A Microwave Oven Safely
Most of the safety concerns of the microwave oven are related to consumer usage. Like any other appliance, it is important to use a microwave oven with care. However, it is important to remember that a microwave has some cooking peculiarities that other appliances don’t have. Follow these general safety rules:
- Liquids or wet foods absorb a higher amount of microwaves, making them very hot to the touch. Only containers that are recommended by the manufacturer as being microwave-safe should be used. Some containers will require the use of kitchen oven mitts for handling.
- Because water super-heats in the microwave, it may boil up suddenly when removed. Follow manufacturer recommendations for the amount of time to use to heat water, and keep the container or cup away from your face when removing it.
- Certain foods must be specially prepared before placing them in the microwave, to avoid explosion. For instance, you should never microwave an egg in its shell. Stir the egg before microwaving. Raw potatoes and some other vegetables should be pierced before placement in the microwave oven. Follow your microwave recipe closely.
- Metal utensils should not be placed in a microwave oven. They can create sparks and damage the microwave, or cause a fire.
- Make sure your microwave door seals correctly to avoid leakage. If your microwave oven is getting old and the door no longer seals as it should, it may be time to buy a new one.
Microwave ovens are strictly government regulated in the way that they must be made, to protect your interests as a consumer. Therefore, you can be assured that they are designed to be safe when used per manufacturer recommendations.
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