MadSci Network: Engineering

Re: Is it harmfull to microwave your foods?

Date: Mon Sep 20 19:34:09 1999
Posted By: Edward Peterson, Staff, Chemical Engineering, S&B Engineers and Constructors
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 937519202.Eg

Dear Joseph,

There is no possibility that microwave energy can leave radiation in 
food.  Microwave energy is non-ionizing radiation.  In fact, the quantum 
energy levels that microwave energy can excite are well below that 
required to break chemical bonds.  To have nuclear radiation remain in 
food requires that the forces holding nuclear particles are broken.  This 
is simply not possible with microwaves which are less enegetic than 
visible light or even infra-red radation.

Microwave energy can be mis-used however, and the results to food can make 
them inedible.  Microwaves do not cook like conventional heat, so the 
results are often unexpected.  You can burn thick sauces easily and dry 
meats very quickly.  Parts of frozen pizzas will be frozen while other 
parts will be charred.

There are numerous people that have derided microwave energy as "un-
natural" and inherently harmful.  People confuse microwave energy with 
nuclear energy often because of the common phrase of "nuking your food" 
used to describe microwave warming or cooking.  However, as described 
above, there is no connection between nuclear energy and microwave energy.

If you have further questions about microwave energy, please feel free to 
write me directly at

Ed Peterson, PhD

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