January 18, 2022


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Health effects of microwave ovens

Is it safe to microwave food? - BBC Future

In the case of microwave ovens that are used as directed by the manufacturer and maintained properly, there is no evidence that they pose any health risks.


In both the home and commercial or other premises, Microwave radiation leakage electromagnetic energy (EME) is used to cook food. The following are some characteristics of microwave ovens and some precautions to take when using them. In this fact sheet, the focus is on domestic microwave ovens intended for use at home, in commercial kitchens, and in workplace staff rooms.

What is the function of a microwave oven?

Within the cavity of a microwave oven, intense microwaves are generated. Water molecules in food readily absorb the waves that are reflected off the metal inside the oven. Within the microwave oven, food is heated by absorbing the energy that bounces around from the microwaves. Microwaves vibrate water molecules within food, and the resulting friction heats it up.

Microwave ovens typically cook food much faster than conventional ovens. Moisture content, shape, volume, and weight of the food determine the rate of heating. In some foods, the outside may only be warm while the inside can be close to boiling (jam filled donuts or meat pies, for example). Others will have cooked parts but not other parts. If not enough time is allowed for the heating process, parts of frozen food will remain frozen.

Microwave ovens safe?

Once the microwave oven is turned off, the microwaves generated cease to exist. After the power is shut off, the microwaves are no longer present in the food. The food is not radioactive. Cooking in a microwave oven may alter the nutritional value of some foods differently than conventional cooking, but there are no indications of detrimental health effects associated with the practice.

Microwave ovens have the potential to heat food unevenly. Prior to eating, food needs time to absorb the heat. It is important to avoid stirring or knocking liquids once they have been removed from a microwave oven since they may become overheated (overheated to the point of boiling without actually boiling) and may erupt.

Can microwave-safe containers be used?

It is not always true that containers designed to hold foods at room temperature can also be used in microwave ovens. As a result of the high cooking temperature, the chemistry of the plastic may break down and thereby contaminate food within the container. The composition of plastic is difficult to determine by its appearance, so plastic containers or films should not be used in a microwave oven unless they are specifically designed for that purpose. For additional questions, contact the container manufacturer.

Microwave ovens are suitable for most ceramics, glass-ceramics, some plastics, and some papers. Do not use metallic-glazed dishes. The instructions provided by the oven manufacturer should be carefully followed if fast food foil containers or aluminium foil are being used. Do not touch the sides of the oven with fast food foil containers or aluminum foil, as this may cause sparks.

How should the user inspect the product?

An inspection of a microwave oven should confirm the following points:

  • No damage has been done to the door’s surface.
  • The door opens and closes smoothly, fitting squarely and securely.
  • In good condition are the door hinges.
  • There is no food or burned material on the door edges or in the interior surrounds of the oven.
  • There are no signs of corrosion on the door, the door hinges, or the oven interior.

How should microwave ovens be used?

  • You should follow the oven manufacturer’s recommendations for operating procedures and safety precautions.
  • Ensure that the interlocking devices are not tampered with or deactivated.
  • If the manufacturer does not specifically allow it, you should not use the oven without the trays provided by the manufacturer.
  • Unless specifically stated in the manufacturer’s instructions, you should never use the oven without a load (such as food or water) in the cavity.
  • Objects like food containers should never be placed on the open door while it is heavy.
  • Regularly clean the oven cavity, the door and seals with water and a mild detergent (avoid using abrasive cleaning pads).
  • Children should not use microwave ovens without adult supervision.