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5 Tips for Microwave Oven Safety

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By    |   Thursday, 01 Sep 2016 01:37 PM

It seems like microwave ovens have always been a part of most U.S. kitchens, as well as college dormitory rooms, RV’s, campers, and the like, but safety problems can sometimes occur, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates them.

Most injuries related to microwave ovens are the result of heat-related burns from hot containers, overheated foods, or exploding liquids, and do are not related to radiation. Although there have been very rare instances of radiation injuries, all microwave ovens must designed to prevent this and meet certain standards.

Also manufacturers must certify that their require any radiation given off by ovens to be well below the level known to cause injury, the FDA says, in an advisory update the agency issued Thursday.

In addition, some people remain concerned that microwave ovens could cause interference with their implanted cardiac pacemakers, today that is generally no longer a concern. But if people are worried, they should consult their health care providers, the agency says.

Here are the FDA’s 5 tips for safe microwave operation:

  1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Directions in the user manual provide recommended operating procedures and safety precautions. For instance, you should not use some microwave ovens when they are empty. In addition, you should not heat water or liquids longer than the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations.Use microwave-safe containers.
  2. Use cookware specially manufactured for use in the microwave oven. Generally, you should not use metal pans or aluminum foil because microwaves reflect off them, causing food to cook unevenly and possibly damaging the oven. And you should not use some plastic containers because heated food can cause them to melt. Glass, ceramic, and plastic containers labeled for microwave oven use.
  3. Avoid super-heated water. “Super-heated” means water is heated beyond its boiling temperature, without signs of boiling. If you use a microwave oven to heat water in a clean cup beyond the boiling temperature, a slight disturbance or movement may cause the water to violently explode out of the cup. There have been reports of serious skin burns or scalding injuries around people’s hands and faces as a result of this phenomenon. Adding ingredients such as instant coffee or sugar to water before heating greatly reduces the risk of hot-water eruption. Also remember to follow the manufacturer’s heating instructions.
  4. Check for leakage. There should be little cause for concern about excess microwave radiation leaking from these ovens unless the door hinges, latch, or seals are damaged. Looking at your oven carefully to see if any of these issues exist.
  5. Don’t use an oven if the door doesn’t close firmly or is bent, warped, or otherwise damaged.  Don’t use ovens that seem to operate when the door is open. The FDA monitors these appliances for radiation safety issues and has received increasing reports about microwave ovens that appear to stay on—and operate—when the door is open. If this happens, stop using the microwave immediately.

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It's difficult to remember a time when microwave ovens weren't a popular way to cook food but problems can still occur so the FDA offers five safety tips.
microwave, oven, safety, FDA
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2016-37-01
Thursday, 01 Sep 2016 01:37 PM
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