Microwave ovens have become a staple in our daily lives. They can regularly help us in saving a lot of time that we otherwise may have spent on heating food. As simple as Microwave may appear to you, there is a lot that goes behind the scenes. A Microwave does not work as your everyday stove. In fact, the food is blasted with high energy levels to help you quickly heat it up.
Microwaves only started to become popular in the 1970s as a household convenience. Back then, they were not that common either and as compared to modern Microwaves, they were far inferior. The main reason people prefer Microwaves nowadays is that they are energy efficient. Without any hassle, and additional time, you can cook your meals hassle-free.
The energy emitted by the Microwave is enough to heat up your meals within minutes. This is why if you want a piping hot meal quickly, then a Microwave is the best choice. However, have you ever wondered what is going on in the surroundings when a Microwave is heating food? How the Radiation of a Microwave affect other Organisms? This is what we will be trying to clear for you.
How does Microwave Work?
Unlike an oven which requires to reach a certain temperature before it can start heating the food, and then, it heats the food from inside. A Microwave works a bit differently. A tiny amount of radio waves are emitted from a Microwave. They help in heating up the food more evenly. There is a common misconception people have that a Microwave cooks food inside out. However, this is not the case.
Modern Microwaves have made our lives far too convenient. But, there’s a lot that goes behind the scenes. Here’s how Microwave cooks food:
- Microwave mainly works with the help of its strong generator called a magnetron. When someone starts to cook, the magnetron utilises the electricity of the power outlet it is connected to and converts it into radio waves.
- The waves are then blasted by the magnetron through a channel known as a waveguide.
- The turntable slowly spins the food, so your meals are evenly cooked.
- The Microwaves pass through your food while they are bouncing back and forth, thus heating it in the process.
- How hot your food becomes, depends on the vibrating molecules. The faster they are, the more heat they would release.
Can Microwave Radiation Harm you?
There is a common misconception by people that Microwave can cause cancer or other diseases. While it is true that direct exposure to Radiation can be fatal. This is not the case when you are using a Microwave. The Radiation emitted from a Microwave is entirely different. As we mentioned above that the Microwave heats food by charging up the molecules.
The Radiation that is harmful to you have very high levels of energy and can break your DNA. It comes in the category of ionising Radiation. Exposure to a large dose of ionising Radiation contributes to cancer. One fine example of ionising Radiation is x-rays. On the other hand, the Microwave uses non-ionizing Radiation. There have been many tests conducted to see if a Microwave has adverse health effects and it has not been proven yet.
Non-Ionizing Radiation is generally not harmful. However, ultraviolet light is non-ionizing Radiation that can potentially cause cancer. Although a Microwave heats food differently from conventional cooking methods. You can rest assured that it does not cause harm to your health.
How Does Microwave Radiation Affect Different Organisms?
As we mentioned that Microwave emits non-ionizing Radiation, which is not harmful to humans. However, the same cannot be said for different Organisms. While the exact affect that Microwave Radiation has on different Organisms is still under research, what we know is that it does decrease their growth. There have been numerous experiments conducted on different Organisms. In all of the scientists observed how upon exposure to Microwave Radiation, the growth of Organisms decreased.
As humans, we have greater tolerance to Radiation, especially if it is non-ionizing. However, the same cannot be said in the case of bacteria. The Radiation a Microwave emits is considered to be high for a bacteria due to which their growth is decreased.
How to Test the Effects of Microwave Radiation?
If you are further curious to know how Radiation affects different Organisms, then there are numerous tests you could follow. Although having the right equipment is necessary to conduct the tests, one of the best ways to conduct it is on seeds and yeast.
Even in most of the tests conducted to observe the effects of Microwave Radiation on Organisms, researchers used seeds. They compared two different seeds side by side. One of them was placed after it had been exposed to Radiation, while the other was in normal condition.
It was observed that the seed that had been exposed to Microwave Radiation stopped growing (or grew very slow). To some people, this may not sound as much. However, when you look at things from a micro level, this was indeed a major finding.
Before such tests were conducted, not many people thought that Microwave Radiation could have such adverse effects on Organisms. This was just one of the many things that Microwave Radiation was tested on. Of course, the outcome would be different for each organism, and it may depend on their size as well.
How Microwave Heat Affects the Surroundings
You do not have to be a scientist to know that over exposure to heat is something that must always be avoided. If you have ever felt curious while heating up your food that whether the heat would cause harm to you and the surroundings, then yes, it would. Even though Microwave heat is different from stove fire, it can still leave some major burns if you try messing around with it.
This is one of the reasons that the majority of the Microwaves are programmed to automatically turn off. You may have noticed that if you ever pull the door of your Microwave while it is heating food, it is going to stop working. That feature is added for your protection because if you ever put your hand inside the Microwave while the food is heating up, it can leave you with a burn.
Needless to say that, if an insect, unfortunately, enters the Microwave while it is running, then it would be turned into a crisp. This is why, even if it does not look too harmful like stove fire, precautions are always important when running a Microwave.
Our ancestors would have certainly been happy if they had a Microwave in their time. We might not think of it as much, but how a Microwave heats our food is truly brilliant. We could not have even imagined using Radiation like this a few centuries ago.
There are billions of Organisms in the world, and they react to Radiation in their own different way. However, at least we hope now you know how Microwave Radiation can affect Organisms on the most basic level.