Microwave ovens were considered luxury items for everyday households 35 years ago. They were big, bulky, and ugly but working mothers loved this curious invention's efficiency.
However, people developed a reluctance to accept technology into the home which produced a lot of falsehoods about microwaves. Despite advancements in this arena as well as home design, these myths still linger like the smell of burnt microwave popcorn. I'm going to break down some of these myths so you can rest assured that your kitchen device is perfectly safe.
We've all been told not to stand too close to a microwave otherwise we will get cancer. The myth stems from people mistakenly assuming the appliance uses radiation to cook food. This is completely false.
These ovens use micro-waves, which are high-frequency radio-waves. On the electromagnetic spectrum, they are on the opposite end of the cancer-causing elements like gamma rays and radiation. Assuming the oven is properly sealed via the factory, you have virtually zero amount of impending danger that you will get cancer for watching your food heat up. Microwaves are actually LESS harmful than the sun which contain gamma rays.
This is a little tricky to answer. Let's just say that ALL foods lose some nutritional value when undergoing a chemical change conducted by heat. Everytime you cook asparagus either through boiling, baking, frying or microwaving, some vitamins are lost in the process. So it's not fair to single out microwaves as being the sole culprit. Nor is it fair to assume there is an exceptional decrease of nutritional value once exposed to microwaves.
The same people who believe microwaves themselves cause cancer are the same people who think microwaving food is dangerous. This myth is created under the same misguided premise: that microwaves use radiation to create heat.
Putting metal into the microwave, as we all know, can cause sparks and small fires. But heating food in metal dishes aren't the only unsafe containers - those made of plastics are as well. Plastics, when heated, leak their chemical components into your food. One time won't harm you but using plastics in the microwave on a regular basis can definitely lead to an increase of contamination, especially for juveniles and babies. To be safe, always transfer food into a ceramic or glass dish before heating.
The high powered appliance seems like it would suck a bunch of energy from your home, yet quite the opposite is true. Because they are small and focus their energy on the food itself, they are actually more efficient than the conventional oven when takes time to heat to the proper temperature to cook food. Conventional ovens also have to heat the entire space, which drains your home's energy.
The only way microwaving food may be harmful is if you are trying to cook a hunk of meat in it. Microwaves have really made advancements but not each one has the capability of making a juicy four-pound pork loin. Under cooked meat contains bacteria which can make you sick. So it isn't the microwave which is dangerous but the user's erroneous use of the microwave. Always read the instructions and directions of how to properly use the kitchen appliance.
Most of what people fear about microwaves is that they cause cancer, which we've already dispelled. The similar fear is that water will be susceptible to the wrongly presumed cancer-causing chemicals because it is an efficient conduit for electricity. The only thing you need to worry about when heating up a cup of coffee in the microwave is a thing called superheating. As the name suggests, it's when you get something really hot really quickly, which is the function of the microwave. Water, under this heating process, can only be "dangerous" because it can emit really hot steam and water which, when spilled or mishandled, can certainly burn you.
All in all, the microwave oven is a convenient appliance that resides in the majority of homes. There is no need to fear the technology as long as you use common sense and operate it according to the manufacturer's guidelines. So go ahead, pop in that movie and microwave that popcorn.