Microwave ovens ease the cooking process with their straightforward operation that reduces mess on the kitchen platform. They cook the food efficiently and consume less energy as compared to gas or induction cooked food.
Contrary to the myth, it doesn’t disrupt the nutritional value of the food and requires less time and minimum water.
However, have you ever wondered what goes on inside the oven, what are the microwave radiations and how do they operate? What if these microwave radiations leak out? Read further to know the details.
Microwave Oven Radiation
The working mechanism of a microwave oven is based on microwaves, electromagnetic radiations, which are non-ionizing in nature.
Microwaves have the capability to penetrate glass, ceramic bowls, and plates and are absorbed by food materials. Household ovens utilize around 2.45 GHz frequency, sufficient enough to gain access to water molecules of food. The higher the liquidity of the food, the faster it cooks.
The inside structure of the microwave is built with metal, encasing a structure known as magnetron, the production site of microwaves in an oven. These radiations strike the water molecules, generating ripples of vibrations across layers of the food in a bowl.
With the constant application of microwaves, vibrations change to molecular motion as a result of conduction, technically known as dielectric heating. As time passes, the stirrer rotates continuously to ensure an even distribution of radiation followed by a gradual rise in the temperature, consequently cooking the food within minutes.
Safety Criteria of Microwave Oven
Although when used judiciously, microwaves do not cause any health hazard, when exposure exceeds the FDA limit, it has the potential to do substantial damage to the human body.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has framed certain protocols in collaboration with the Centre for Devices and Radiological Health to regulate radiation levels in kitchen equipment.
Following is a set of guidelines set by the authorities to ensure zero damage by microwaves to public health.
- The maximum limit is 5 milliwatts (mW) of microwave radiation per square centimeter at approximately 2 inches from the oven surface.
- All ovens must have a pair of independent lock systems to ensure zero radiation leakage on opening the chamber.
- Alert systems to notify interlock system failure.
Microwave Radiation Leak
Ovens have a shielding layer known as Faraday cage to obstruct the escape of radiations into the outer atmosphere. Various physics enthusiasts have tried to testify to the efficacy of this arrangement, and some of them have found fascinating gaps too.
Regularly check the seal, door hinges, power cords, temperature regulator, and control panel for any discrepancy or loose ends that may cause radiation outflow. Refer to the user manual to know the technicalities and precautions of use
Experts recommend getting your microwave examined for safety risk assessment via various microwave leakage tests to avoid unanticipated injuries in the kitchen.
Importance of testing microwave radiation leakage
Leakage in small quantities is non-potential of causing mutation in human DNA. Nevertheless, ill-functioning microwaves pose a serious risk of thermal injuries, especially to sensitive areas like the eyes.