How Can Microwaves be Dangerous?
My visit a few days ago to my local food joint wasn’t like all the others and prompted me to look into something I hadn’t personally considered before, though no doubt many of you have: are microwave ovens actually safe to use? I know, we do use them day after day with no visible consequences, but what I saw on my visit really sparked my curiosity. As the man in front of me placed his order, he carefully watched the lady behind the counter prepare it. It was nothing special: a basic plate with rice, potatoes, vegetables and the like. It seemed the ingredients were a little cold, so the lady decided to put the plate in the microwave oven. At that point, the man loudly and suddenly exclaimed that he would rather eat his food frozen than have it poisoned by the radiation, and it didn’t matter if they had one of the fanciest and best microwaves around.
This probably marked the first time I ever found myself standing witness to someone who was so strongly opposed to the use of microwave ovens. He truly believed every single he word he said, and so I wondered whether there might actually be something to it, some proof out there that could either confirm or deny the microwave’s dangers. After all, it seems like a very reasonable subject to explore seeing as how it is common knowledge that these ovens emit rays to heat up the food… not to mention that virtually every man-made invention can be used for good and evil alike, and it doesn’t even need to be intentional.
The Scientific Inquiry into Microwave Safety
Thankfully, that man and myself weren’t the first people to ask ourselves if cooking with the best microwaves could represent a safety hazard. A number of studies were already conducted on the subject, and through extensive observations it was determined that the rays don’t actually irradiate the food. Instead, the small amounts of radiation that are delivered through the rays are absorbed by the water molecules in your food. When that happens, these molecules begin vibrating and generating heat, which is pretty much all there is to the whole process. The radiation itself isn’t retained in the food and is instead released into the air, where it dissipates into nothingness.
In order to better understand why the best microwaves are safe to use, it would help a bit to put on our scientific goggles and learn about the kind of radiation we are dealing with. As it happens, not every type of radiation is harmful to the human body. There are essentially two types we need to worry about: ionizing and non-ionizing radiation. The former is dangerous for us and should be avoided at all costs, but the latter is quite safe. We are already exposed to numerous types of non-ionizing radiation in our daily lives as they come in the form of electromagnetic fields and radio waves, just to give a couple of examples. Ultraviolet rays are the only type of non-ionizing radiation that we know are harmful, and they only come from the sun.
Can Microwaves Really Cause Cancer?
It’s quite understandable that many wonder if microwaves can indeed cause cancer, and much scientific research has been conducted on the subject in hopes of finding conclusive answers. Out of all the major and reputable studies that actually followed scientific procedure and were conducted by trusted specialists, not a single one managed to prove any connection between microwave use and cancer. While it is true that the ovens do produce a small magnetic field while in use, it’s not nearly powerful enough to cause any damage to your DNA, not to mention that it doesn’t reach anything beyond a few feet.
To conclude, the best microwaves out there are completely safe to use and be around while turned on; the radiation they emit is not harmful and ultimately negligible. Perhaps the only area of concern revolves around the fact that foods lose some of their nutrients when being cooked, but that applies to any scenario where food is being heated, including frying, boiling or roasting. As a matter of fact, because of the short amount of time the food spends in the microwave, it’s suggested that it helps to conserve even more nutrients than the other methods we’ve been using since the old days. So long as you use it as instructed and only with microwave-compatible plates and containers, you’ll never run into a single problem.