I cook meals on the weekend for Kelley and me to take to work for lunch during the week. Like yeast needs sugar, I depend on my energy emitting cube to cook numerous fresh and frozen veggies daily. A family member recently told me they don’t have a microwave in their home because of the dangers of radiation and other potential horrors it may bring. After asking for more details, he asked the person who first warned him of the dangers.

My cousin wasn’t able to get a response at the time, but told me he read about the potential problems on a website . Fearful I may have to give my microwave up and *suspenseful gasp* use the stove or oven, I decided to do my own searching. Turns out there is plenty of info arguing both sides, like most things, but I was comforted by what I found.

The FDA has an informative page that helps answer most microwave matters. Here are the paragraphs I found most helpful from the site:

What is Microwave Radiation?
Microwaves are a form of “electromagnetic” radiation; that is, they are waves of electrical and magnetic energy moving together through space. Electromagnetic radiation ranges from the energetic x-rays to the less energetic radio frequency waves used in broadcasting. Microwaves fall into the radio frequency band of electromagnetic radiation. Microwaves should not be confused with x-rays, which are more powerful.
Microwaves have three characteristics that allow them to be used in cooking: they are reflected by metal; they pass through glass, paper , plastic, and similar materials; and they are absorbed by foods.

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Cooking with Microwaves
Microwaves are produced inside the oven by an electron tube called a magnetron. The microwaves are reflected within the metal interior of the oven where they are absorbed by food. Microwaves cause water molecules in food to vibrate, producing heat that cooks the food. That’s why foods high in water content, like fresh vegetables, can be cooked more quickly than other foods. The microwave energy is changed to heat as it is absorbed by food, and does not make food “radioactive” or “contaminated.”

Although heat is produced directly in the food, microwave ovens do not cook food from the “inside out.” When thick foods are cooked, the outer layers are heated and cooked primarily by microwaves while the inside is cooked mainly by the conduction of heat from the hot outer layers.

Microwave cooking can be more energy efficient than conventional cooking because foods cook faster and the energy heats only the food, not the whole oven compartment. Microwave cooking does not reduce the nutritional value of foods any more than conventional cooking. In fact, foods cooked in a microwave oven may keep more of their vitamins and minerals, because microwave ovens can cook more quickly and without adding water.

Check out the link to learn more on the microwave process. Microwaving can pose a threat if you stand near the door while cooking as small amounts of radiation can emit through the glass .So don’t put your face really close to see your food and you’ll be ok. Also, a faulty device may leak more than normal amounts of radiation or operate with the door open; make sure yours is in operating condition .

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Click here for another website that offers a helpful explanation on the cooking process. And of course there’s a Wikipedia page devoted to the subject that’s worth reading too.

Phew! I feel good about my continued use of microwaves and don’t plan on stopping. We are exposed to many waves of energy travelling through the atmosphere and in our wireless devices each day; maybe we should fear those instead!

Without a microwave, I wouldn’t be able to make quick and healthy treats like this Microwave Chocolate Layer Cake ! Or maybe not. I will wear sunscreen (not often enough though), but you won’t find me with a foil suit to reflect dangerous waves of energy ever any time soon.

I think the char resulting from foods on the grill, oven, or stove, could pose more dangers than microwaving. What do you think?