• What is Microwave Radiation?
  • Cooking with Microwaves
  • Avoiding Injuries from Super-Heated Water in Microwave Ovens
  • Microwave Oven Condom Standard
  • Microwave Ovens and Wellness
  • Have Radiation Injuries Resulted from Microwave Ovens?
  • Microwave Ovens and Pacemakers
  • Checking Ovens for Leakage and Other Radiations Rubber Problems
  • How to Report Microwave Oven Radiation Safety Problems
  • Tips on Safe Microwave Oven Operation
  • Boosted Data from FDA’due south Consumer Health Information Staff

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulated the manufacture of microwave ovens since 1971. Microwave oven manufacturers are required to certify their products and meet safety performance standards created and enforced by the FDA to protect the public health. On the ground of current noesis about microwave radiation, the Bureau believes that ovens that meet the FDA standard and are used according to the manufacturer’s instructions are safe for use.

What is Microwave Radiation?

Microwaves are a form of “electromagnetic” radiation; that is, they are waves of electrical and magnetic energy moving together through space. Electromagnetic radiation spans a broad spectrum from very long radio waves to very short gamma rays. The homo middle can only detect a modest portion of this spectrum called visible light. A radio detects a dissimilar portion of the spectrum, and an X-ray motorcar uses yet another portion.

Visible low-cal, microwaves, and radio frequency (RF) radiations are forms of non-ionizing radiation.  Not-ionizing radiation does not accept enough energy to knock electrons out of atoms. X-rays are a form of ionizing radiation. Exposure to ionizing radiation tin modify atoms and molecules and cause damage to cells in organic affair.

Microwaves are used to notice speeding cars and to send telephone and television communications. Industry uses microwaves to dry and cure plywood, to cure condom and resins, to enhance staff of life and doughnuts, and to melt murphy chips. But the nigh common consumer use of microwave energy is in microwave ovens. Microwaves have three characteristics that allow them to exist used in cooking: they are reflected by metal; they pass through glass, paper, plastic, and like materials; and they are absorbed by foods.

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Cooking with Microwaves

Microwaves are produced inside the oven by an electron tube chosen a magnetron. The microwaves are reflected inside the metallic interior of the oven where they are absorbed by food. Microwaves cause water molecules in nutrient to vibrate, producing oestrus that cooks the nutrient. That’s why foods that are high in water content, like fresh vegetables, tin can exist cooked more apace than other foods. The microwave energy is inverse to heat as it is captivated by food, and does not brand nutrient “radioactive” or “contaminated.”

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Although heat is produced directly in the nutrient, microwave ovens do not cook nutrient from the “within out.” When thick foods are cooked, the outer layers are heated and cooked primarily by microwaves while the inside is cooked mainly by the conduction of heat from the hot outer layers.

Microwave cooking can be more than energy efficient than conventional cooking because foods cook faster and the energy heats only the nutrient, non the whole oven compartment. Microwave cooking does not reduce the nutritional value of foods any more than conventional cooking. In fact, foods cooked in a microwave oven may proceed more of their vitamins and minerals, because microwave ovens can cook more rapidly and without adding h2o.

Glass, paper, ceramic, or plastic containers are used in microwave cooking because microwaves pass through these materials. Although such containers cannot be heated by microwaves, they can get hot from the heat of the food cooking inside. Some plastic containers should not exist used in a microwave oven because they tin can exist melted by the heat of the food within. Generally, metal pans or aluminum foil should likewise not be used in a microwave oven, as the microwaves are reflected off these materials causing the nutrient to cook unevenly and possibly damaging the oven. The instructions that come with each microwave oven signal the kinds of containers to use. They also cover how to examination containers to meet whether or non they can be used in microwave ovens.

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Fugitive Injuries from Super-Heated Water in Microwave Ovens

The FDA received reports in the by of serious pare burns or scalding injuries around people’s hands and faces every bit a result of hot water erupting out of a cup after it had been overheated in a microwave oven. Super-heated water (water heated past its boiling temperature) does not appear to be boiling and occurs when h2o is heated by itself in a clean cup. If super-heating has occurred, a slight disturbance or motion such as picking up the cup, or pouring in a spoon total of instant coffee, may result in a fierce eruption with the humid water exploding out of the cup. Adding substances such every bit instant java or saccharide
heating greatly reduces this run a risk.

Users should closely follow the precautions and recommendations provided in the microwave oven instruction manuals, specifically regarding heating times. Users should make sure that they do not exceed the recommended heating times when determining the all-time fourth dimension settings to heat water to the desired temperature.

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Microwave Oven Prophylactic Standard

Through its Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), the FDA sets and enforces standards of operation for electronic products to assure that radiation emissions exercise not pose a chance to public health.

A Federal standard (21 CFR 1030.10) limits the amount of microwaves that tin leak from an oven throughout its lifetime to 5 milliwatts (mW) of microwave radiation per square centimeter at approximately 2 inches from the oven surface. This limit is far below the level known to damage people. Microwave free energy too decreases dramatically as you lot motion away from the source of radiations. A measurement fabricated xx inches from an oven would exist approximately i/100th of the value measured at 2 inches from the oven.

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The standard also requires all ovens to accept two independent interlock systems that stop the production of microwaves the moment the latch is released or the door is opened. In addition, a monitoring arrangement stops oven operation in case ane or both of the interlock systems fail.

All ovens must have a characterization stating that they come across the condom standard. In addition, the FDA requires that all ovens take a label explaining precautions for utilise. This requirement may exist dropped if the manufacturer has proven that the oven will non exceed the allowable leakage limit fifty-fifty if used under the conditions cautioned confronting on the label.

To brand sure the standard is met, FDA tests microwave ovens in its own laboratory. The FDA also evaluates manufacturers’ radiation testing and quality command programs at their factories.

Microwave Ovens and Wellness

Microwave radiations tin can rut body tissue the same fashion information technology heats food. Exposure to high levels of microwaves can cause a painful burn. Ii areas of the trunk, the eyes and the testes, are particularly vulnerable to RF heating because there is relatively little blood flow in them to bear abroad excess heat. Additionally, the lens of the eye is particularly sensitive to intense heat, and exposure to loftier levels of microwaves can cause cataracts. But these types of injuries – burns and cataracts – can only be caused by exposure to big amounts of microwave radiation.

Consumers should have common sense precautions regarding handling of hot foods and beverages.  For more safety recommendations see the section of this page titled: Tips on Safe Microwave Oven Operation.

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Have Radiations Injuries Resulted from Microwave Ovens?

Well-nigh injuries related to microwave ovens are the result of heat-related burns from hot containers, overheated foods, or exploding liquids. About injuries are not radiation-related. That said, there have been very rare instances of radiation injury due to unusual circumstances or improper servicing. In general, microwave oven radiation injuries are caused past exposure to large amounts of microwave radiation leaking through openings such as gaps in the microwave oven seals. However, FDA regulations require that microwave ovens are designed to preclude these high level radiation leaks.

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Microwave Ovens and Pacemakers

At one time there was concern that radiation leakage from microwave ovens could interfere with certain electronic cardiac pacemakers. Like concerns were raised about pacemaker interference from electric shavers, automobile ignition systems, and other electronic products. While FDA does not specifically require microwave ovens to carry warnings for people with pacemakers, this problem has largely been resolved as today’s pacemakers are designed to shield against such electrical interference. However, patients with pacemakers are encouraged to consult their physicians if they have concerns.

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Checking Ovens for Leakage and Other Radiation Safety Bug

There is piddling crusade for concern about excess microwaves leaking from ovens unless the door hinges, latch, or seals are damaged. The FDA recommends looking at your oven carefully, and not using an oven if the door doesn’t close firmly or is bent, warped, or otherwise damaged.

The FDA also monitors appliances for radiation safety problems and has received reports of microwave ovens that appear to stay on – and operate – while the door is open. When operating as intended, microwave ovens accept safety features to foreclose them from continuing to generate microwaves if the door is open. However, if an oven does continue to operate with the door open, consumers cannot be 100 percent sure that microwave radiation is non beingness emitted. Thus, if this occurs, the FDA recommends immediately discontinuing utilize of the oven.

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How to Report Microwave Oven Radiation Prophylactic Bug

If you doubtable a radiation condom problem with your microwave oven, yous may contact the microwave oven manufacturer. Manufacturers who discover that any microwave ovens produced, assembled, or imported by them have a defect or fail to comply with an applicative Federal standard are required to immediately notify FDA. In addition, manufacturers/importers are required to report all accidental radiation occurrences to the FDA, unless the incident is associated with a defect or noncompliance that has previously been reported (21 CFR 1002.20).

You may as well report any suspected radiation-related bug or injuries to the FDA by completing and mailing the Accidental Radiation Occurrence Report form.

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Tips on Safe Microwave Oven Operation

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instruction manual for recommended operating procedures and safety precautions for your oven model.
  • Apply microwave rubber cookware particularly manufactured for use in the microwave oven.
  • Don’t operate a microwave oven if the door does non shut firmly or is aptitude, warped, or otherwise damaged.
  • Stop using a microwave oven if information technology continues to operate with the door open up.
  • As an added safety precaution, don’t stand directly against an oven (and don’t permit children to do this) for long periods of time while it is operating.
  • Do not heat h2o or liquids in the microwave oven longer than recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Some ovens should not be operated when empty. Refer to the instruction manual for your oven.
  • Regularly clean the oven cavity, the outer border of the crenel, and the door with water and a mild detergent. A special microwave oven cleaner is non necessary. Be sure to

    use scouring pads, steel wool, or other abrasives.

For more consumer data on microwave oven radiation, contact the Staff of the Division of Manufacture and Consumer Education (Dice) by electronic mail at [email protected]

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Additional Information from FDA’s Consumer Health Data Staff

  • FDA Consumer Update: 5 Tips for Using Your Microwave Oven Safely

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