Microwave ovens ‘less potent than candles’

Man putting meal in microwave oven. | Newsreel
Researchers say microwaves are safe in light of growing online trend to go microwave free. | Photo: Siarhei Khalestski (iStock)

You should be more worried about getting too close to a candle, if you are concerned about the radiation emitted from your microwave oven, according to researchers.

Speaking to National Geographic, West Texas A&M University physicist Dr Christopher Baird said microwave ovens relied on a unique form of non-ionizing radiation, known as “microwaves,” that were distinct from the ionizing radiation found in x-rays and other high-energy sources.

The article points to a growing social media-led trend of kitchen’s going microwave-free, due to “health risks and food quality concerns”.

Dr Baird, who specialises in electromagnetics, said the microwaves in our kitchens were a form of electromagnetic radiation similar to radio waves.

“Even candlelight has more electromagnetic waves than microwave ovens,” he said.

“Logically, people would need to be more worried about candlelight if such claims about microwaves were accurate.

Dr Baird said it was exceedingly rare for a microwave oven to malfunction badly enough to harm a nearby human.

“Even in those exceedingly rare cases, no damage is done beyond burns and surface nerve damage.”

Dr Baird dismissed any claims of impact on food quality.

“If the microwave radiation used in microwave ovens somehow toxified the food it cooked, then the radio waves continuously being emitted by the household Wi-Fi router would be toxifying all of the food in the house in the same way,” Dr Baird said, adding that neither of these concerns were valid.