Is It Protected To Stand In Entrance Of A Microwave Oven? – Livescience.com
Microwave ovens have been a staple in the kitchen for decades, so you can cook anything from frozen vegetables to prepackaged meals in minutes. But while zapping your food you may be wondering how close you can safely stand to a microwave, and whether radiation could leak out of the device and potentially harm you.
Do you really need to worry about this? The short answer isn’t real. Injuries from microwave radiation are very rare, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. However, there are certain precautions you can take to protect yourself when using a microwave oven.
Microwaves are a type of electromagnetic radiation, or energy waves, that travel through space, according to the FDA. Electromagnetic radiation takes several forms, including radio waves, visible light, x-rays, and gamma rays.
Connected: Why does metal sparkle in the microwave?
Microwaves, like radio waves, are a type of “non-ionizing radiation,” meaning they don’t have enough energy to knock electrons out of atoms, says the FDA. Therefore, according to the American Cancer Society, microwaves are not known to damage DNA in cells.
In contrast, X-rays and gamma rays are classified as “ionizing radiation,” a type that has enough energy to remove electrons from atoms and damage cells and DNA.
Even if microwaves don’t present the same health risks as X-rays, it doesn’t mean they are risk-free. Microwaves heat food by vibrating water molecules, which creates heat. In theory, microwaves can heat body tissues in the same way that they heat food, and in high amounts microwaves can cause burns and cataracts, according to the FDA. However, these types of injuries are very rare and generally occur when people are exposed to large amounts of radiation released through openings in the furnace such as B. Gaskets in the seal, according to the FDA.
Additionally, the FDA requires that microwaves be designed in a specific way to prevent these types of radiation leaks. For example, the FDA requires microwave ovens to have two locking systems that stop the production of microwaves as soon as the door is opened. And the agency requires these ovens to have a monitoring system that will stop the unit from operating if one of the interlocking systems fails.
As a result, there is “little to worry about” excess microwaves leaking out of your oven unless the door hinge, latch, or seal is damaged, according to the FDA.
Take care of the heat
However, the agency recommends that you carefully inspect and avoid using your microwave oven if the door does not close properly or if it is “bent, warped, or otherwise damaged”. As an additional precaution, the FDA recommends that you do not lean against or stand directly against a microwave oven for long periods of time while it is in operation.
The most common cause of injury from microwave ovens is that people are injured from heat burns, touching hot containers, overheated food, or exposure to explosive liquids. The FDA recommends that people take sensible precautions when handling hot foods and beverages that are cooked in microwave ovens.
The agency also warns that heating water in a mug with a microwave runs the risk of the water “overheating,” meaning it has warmed past its boiling point. In this case, the water does not appear to be boiling, but even a minor disturbance of the water – which may occur while touching or picking up the mug – can result in a boiling burst. This can cause skin burns or scalds, especially on the face and hands. According to the FDA, the recommended heating times for water as specified in the operating instructions for the oven should not be exceeded to prevent the formation of overheated water.
In fact, it is generally a good idea to read and follow your microwave oven’s instruction manual to protect yourself while using it.
Originally published on Live Science.