True or False: Microwaves Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
Evidence for the Health Claim
- Substances used to make plastics that aren’t recommended for microwave use (eg, diethylhexyl adipate—DEHA) may leach into foods when they are used in the microwave oven.
- Burns may result from handling hot materials that have been heated in the microwave.
- Foods or liquids that are heated unevenly may have a tendency to explode, which can also cause burns.
- Uneven cooking may also result in food safety risks if potentially dangerous microorganisms are not killed in parts of the food.
Evidence Against the Health Claim
- Check that the door closes properly on your microwave
- Keep the door seals clean and make sure the seals are not damaged
- Do not use a damaged microwave until it has been repaired by a qualified service engineer
- If you are unsure whether a plastic is microwave-safe, use a different plate or container to heat the food
- Do not use carry-out containers or margarine tubs in the microwave
- Place plastics loosely over foods and avoid letting the plastics touch the food
- Never use plastic storage bags, grocery bags, newspapers, or aluminum foil in the microwave
- Make sure raw meats, like poultry and fish, are thoroughly cooked, and allow food to sit in the microwave for several minutes after cooking so that the heat distributes evenly
Electromagnetic fields and public health: microwave ovens. World Health Organization website. Available at: http://www.who.int/peh-emf/publications/facts/info%5Fmicrowaves/en/index.html . Accessed November 6, 2008.
Plastics and the microwave. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2002/602%5Fplastic.html . Accessed November 6, 2008.
Image Credit: Nucleus Communications, Inc.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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