Some believe that microwaved food can cause cancer- is this a fact or a myth?
Microwave= radiation= cancer?
Word has it that eating microwaved food can increase your risk of cancer, as a result of ingesting food that has absorbed radiation from the microwaving process.
Let’s break this down.
First off, is radiation harmful?
Yes and no. According to Cancer Research UK, radiation is simply “the release of energy from any source“, and examples of energy sources are all around us, from household appliances to the sun. As you can tell, these forms of energy are not harmful to humans.
The harmful form of radiation is called ionising radiation, made of high energy waves. Ionising radiation is harmful as it “can change a cell’s DNA”, and this change in DNA could even cause cells to turn cancerous. This is the type of radiation that many people are concerned about.
Do microwaves produce radiation?
Yes, they do. However, Cancer Research UK states in an article that “Microwave ovens don’t make foods radioactive. They just heat them. Microwave ovens heat food by producing radiation which is absorbed by water molecules in the food. This makes the water molecules vibrate and produce heat, which cooks the food.”
Research on microwaves have not generated conclusive results on the link between microwave ovens and cancer, with some studies suggesting possible links and others yielding no evidence of the claim.
While evidence either way is still inconclusive, the article states that “Most experts say that microwave ovens don’t give off enough energy to damage the genetic material (DNA) in cells so they can’t cause cancer”.
In short, microwaves are safe to use. The only drawback, though, is that microwave cooking can affect the nutritional value of your food. But no, you won’t be getting cancer from eating a microwaved meal.