Friday, June 8, 2012

Microwaves, Radiation, Cancer, and Such Things

 In a world where the things we've created to promote easier living seem to be the same things killing us, I don't blame folks for trying to be careful. Recently, there have been many rumors about microwaves and how the radiation generated from heating food can give you cancer.

Your question is 'Are they true?'. Should you stop heating up your food altogether? The answer is no.

In reality, to understand that microwaves are not as unsafe as we make them seem (Well, not our present-day microwaves at least), we need to understand a little about radiation. Machines produce different types of radiation: ionizing and non-ionizing. Microwaves produce non-ionizing radiation, which is much less powerful than ionizing radiation. Just to give you a little perspective, X-Ray machines produce ionizing radiation.

So does this non-ionizing radiation leak out of the door of the microwave, form an invisible organism, and take over the world? No, not really. In fact, microwave manufacturers are mandated to prove to the health authorities (the FDA in the USA) that their products meet certain standards, which include "leakage" standards. However, if you have had your microwave for a while, and think it might be faulty, contact the health department because these manufacturing standards do not cover faults that happened in your home.

Just so I don't scare you though, these cases are very few and far between. The majority of microwaves meet manufacturing regulations, and while it is true that they emit very little radiation, studies have shown that these radiation levels are not nearly enough to cause cancer. So you can rest easy.

If you are still concerned and would rather not take the small risk, one preventative measure would be to make sure you do not have physical contact with the microwave while it heats your food.

What have you heard about microwave ovens and cancer?

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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