According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 90% of American households use a microwave oven. However, the question of the possible risks and health effects of more or less intensive use remains unanswered.
Is microwaving safe? This question is both interesting and important, as this appliance has become a part of our everyday lives. It is also a complex issue because when it comes to possible health effects, it is necessary to distinguish between the possible causes of these effects.
The microwaves used in this type of oven are non-ionizing. In the US, regulations require manufacturers to use a frequency of 2.4-2.5 gigahertz. This is a frequency comparable to WIFI and close to the frequency used in mobile phones.
There is also a strict standard for the amount of leakage radiation that can escape from a microwave cabinet. Regular tests show that this leakage is typically 10 to 100 times lower than this standard. And of course, the further away you are from the oven, the lower the dose you receive which in turn protects you from developing cancer.
A dangerous cooking method?
Microwave waves cause water molecules to vibrate in food, thus heating it up. In normal use, the cooking temperature rarely exceeds 212°F (100°C) because this is the temperature at which water evaporates. This means that the risk of carcinogens in the food is much lower than with other cooking methods. Most importantly, we can only advise against using the microwave oven for fun physics experiments as they can lead to dangerous results.
The FDA recommends that the recommendations of manufacturers of microwaved foods are strictly followed. Exceeding the power or cooking time indicated on the packaging can lead to the release of toxic chemicals into the food.
Effects on the nutritional value of the food?
Many studies have been carried out on the nutritional value of microwaved or heated foods. As microwave cooking is faster than other cooking methods, it generally preserves the nutritional value of foods better, with the exception of vitamin B1 which could be easily replaced by eating more fresh fruits and nuts. In short, when used correctly microwave ovens are safe.
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