In some media, you can hear that the microwave, on which the operation of the device is based, is harmful. Are there validated studies on this topic? Of course, only their results are often contradictory and point to diametrically opposed things. Let’s try to figure out whether it is possible to heat up food in devices of this type, and whether there are any unpleasant consequences from eating such food.
How does a microwave oven work
To understand how a microwave can affect the human body, it is worth understanding how it generally works. Heating of food in it is carried out by converting the energy of microwave electromagnetic radiation into thermal energy inside the products.
On a note! Of the “household” waves, the closest range is for those on which the Bluetooth and mobile communications signal goes.
Structurally, the microwave oven consists of control electronics (central board), a high-voltage transformer that produces high voltage, respectively, and a magnetron. It is the magnetron that transforms electricity into a magnetic field of the desired frequency.
What happens to the substance in the microwave
The principle of operation of this device is as follows. High-frequency waves affect the most mobile molecules (water, fats and sugar). The mechanical energy of their accelerated rotation is converted into thermal energy. Opponents of this type of heating argue that such an influence at the molecular level is harmful: rapid rotation leads to the molecular decay of matter. The reality is that at home, and in most laboratory conditions, it is impossible to disperse the molecules so that they begin to disintegrate. Even when water evaporates, it molecules do not change.
Any heat treatment of products leads to the fact that more highly organized substances pass into simple structures. At the same time, cooking in the microwave is more delicate in relation to organic matter. For example, vitamins in foods are better preservedthan when boiling or frying.
Comparison of different waves
Another misconception is that microwave radiation is dangerous, and even accumulates. This is not true. Waves with a short wavelength, such as gamma radiation and ultraviolet, do have a negative effect on a person. The field that is used in microwaves is in the range between infrared radiation (which in turn is greater than ultraviolet) and radio waves. The influence of microwaves on a person is comparable to how mobile communications affect him.
Microwave oven construction
You can understand how safe a microwave oven is and calm down on this topic if you consider its design. The body of the device is shielded, the radiation does not get outside. Even the door is structurally thought out so that it does not transmit radiation. It is a sandwich panel of clear plastic and glass and a sheet of metal with a honeycomb structure that reflects the waves back into the inner chamber. This, on the one hand, increases the efficiency of the device, on the other – guarantees safety. The holes in the metal are of a size that allows you to observe what is happening inside the stove, but do not let electromagnetic radiation through.
WHO attitude towards the use of microwave ovens
The safety of microwave ovens is such a hot topic and a concern for so many people that the World Health Organization hasn’t bypassed it either.
In 2008, WHO expressed its official opinion on this matter. The organization’s experts said that microwave radiation does not adversely affect either human health or food that is cooked in microwave ovens. The exception is pacemakers, or rather, their owners, for whom the influence of a microwave oven can be dangerous.
The USSR had microwaves
This invention was patented back in 1945 by American engineer Percy Spencer. In the expanses of the USSR The microwave oven was introduced in the 80s.. Then, at the machine-building plant in Dnepropetrovsk, they began to assemble Dnepryanka-1 microwave ovens. This implies a refutation of two myths at once, which can be heard from opponents of this technique:
- Microwave ovens were banned in the USSR – they were not only allowed, but also produced in large quantities;
- they were invented by the Germans during World War II as a variant of the weapon of destruction.
Manufacturers recommendations for the safe operation of microwave ovens
Any technical device will be safe only if all recommendations for its operation are followed. This also applies to microwave ovens. In principle, a technically sound microwave oven is safe for humans, pets and plants, as well as for the food that is cooked in it.
Manufacturers focus on compliance with safety rules to really guarantee it. In general, it is recommended to follow these points.
- The microwave oven is ideal for delicate defrosting and reheating food. This is the main purpose of this technique. Cooking in it is also possible.
- It is better to install a microwave oven so that it is as far away from those locations where people usually gather. For example, putting it on a dining table that is often sat at is not recommended.
- For microwave only metal container not suitable or dishes with metal decor. Firstly, the metal during operation can disable the magnetron, spark and ignite. Secondly, an unauthorized reflective element inside causes erratic wave movement in the chamber. As a result, the radiation can “break through” to the outside.
- It turns out that microwave radiation does not remove bacterial contamination. Therefore, the cleanliness of the device must be carefully monitored, avoiding the accumulation of organic contaminants.
In fairness, it should be noted that food from the microwave in itself – not the healthiest food, and the point here is not the effect of ultrashort waves, but the very principle of cooking. Microwave ovens are mainly used for cooking “fast food”, which refers to conditionally non-healthy food (for example, popcorn, hot dogs, quick-defrost products).
If you neglect proper nutrition, then you can quickly get problems with the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis, and it will not be at all the “harmful effect” of the radiation emanating from the microwave oven.
Unhealthy food cooked in a microwave oven can lead to to weight gainwhich can also be attributed to a harmful effect, but the point here is in malnutrition, and not in the direct and clearly negative effects of microwaves.
Manufacturers of this type of household appliances have all the necessary types of certification, which is very difficult to obtain. By the way, technological innovations that in one way or another negatively affect the health of the consumer do not find their way to the mass market, or, once in stores, just as quickly disappear from the shelves if any complaints are received. So it’s hardly worth talking about some kind of intentional harm due to the collusion of manufacturers, many different organizations deal with these issues.
When wondering whether the harm of microwaves is a myth or a reality, one should remain impartial and be aware that any technological device, one way or another, has an impact on the human body.
Just in one case, such an influence may become apparent in the very near future, and in the second case it will not manifest itself in any way for many years and even decades, after which it will be difficult to say what exactly caused and catalyzed such changes.
Most likely, the harm and benefit of a microwave oven will be about the same, varying from one user to another, because no one has canceled the individual characteristics of the body. Often, the use of a microwave leads to the so-called “nutritional licentiousness”, when a person begins to neglect healthy and healthy food, rich in all the necessary substances. This is precisely the harm, but it is not caused by the device itself.