Good Health Impacts Of The Microwave Oven Research Paper Example
A microwave oven is one of the most widely used kitchen equipment in the world. The history of microwave dates back to 1946. It was invented by an engineer named Spencer who was an employee of Raytheon Corporation. Spencer was involved with research in magnetrons. Its discovery was a by-product of another idea that was used in the warfare. The idea came as a result of research into radar technology using magnetrons. Spencer had a candy bar in his pocket in the laboratory and he realized later that it had melted. His investigations revealed that the candy bar was melted by the magnetrons he was working with in the laboratory. That discovery let him to conduct more experiments which eventually led him to conclude that microwaves can cook food better and even faster than the conventional ovens. Following this, the first commercial microwave oven was produced by Raytheon Corporation in 1954. Unlike the modern microwave, it was a very gigantic and expensive device with a large power rating of 1.6kW.it was not until1967 when the first domestic oven, Amana, was produced by Raytheon Corporation. That marked the beginning of commercialization of the microwave oven technology (SMECC).
A typical microwave oven used in homes, offices, and hotels to heat food use radio waves that are set at a specific frequency. When the radio waves penetrate water molecules in food, the water molecules get agitated. As the water molecules get rapidly agitated, they start to vibrate at the atomic level. The process of agitation release sufficient heat used for cooking or heating food (Datta 116). Unlike a conventional oven where heat travels from the outer surface of the food to the inner surface, the food cooked using a microwave oven cooks uniformly and faster since radio waves reach out to all water molecule in food at the same time. The radio waves that cook food pass easily through materials such as glass, ceramics and plastics. This is the reason why plastics and glasses used to place food in a microwave oven do not melt or explode. However, metals reflect radio waves. It is this ability to reflect radio waves that metals are put to good use in the walls of a microwave. The metals are used to construct the walls of the microwave oven. The purpose is to protect the radio waves from extending beyond the microwave oven to cook other foods placed near it.
The commercialization of microwave oven technology attracted a lot of interest from people who wanted to experience the benefits of the technology. Companies selling microwave ovens have continued to report huge sales of the equipment every year. Despite the popularity of the technology in homes, offices, restaurants, hotels, and institutions, there are emerging concerns on its safety. The bio effect of microwave oven has been studied by Banik, Bandyopadhyay, and Ganguly (155-159). His studies was motivated by other researchers who had found evidence linking microwaves with biological effects. However past research has been concerned about microwaves in general and not those radio waves specifically used in a microwave oven. Past findings on the study of microwaves revealed that their impact on biological tissues is dependent on a number of factors such as duration of exposure, nature of the wave forms, magnetic field strength, frequencies, and modulation. Although past research were more inclined to the effects of microwave heat on biological tissues, later investigations focused on the non-thermal effect of microwaves.
Available evidence suggest that besides thermal effects, microwaves have non-thermal biological effects on leading to molecular transformations and tissue alterations. Studies have also shown that microwaves have a significant effect on the growth rate and properties of cells. Microwave irradiation on animals and humans reveal that suggested that the microwaves have a significant impact on the DNA of organisms while human body absorb radiation. This findings were further reinforced by investigations which showed that microwaves have a potential to alter the genetic information of species. Despite causing a lot of worries, it has been established that other than being used to cook or warm food, microwave technology can be effectively applied to perform animal and human therapy with diseases such as duodenal ulcers, gastric ulcers, respiratory sickness, skin diseases, and cardiovascular diseases among others having been successfully treated by the technology (Pakhomov 393-413).
According to Does, available evidence shows that there is no danger in using a microwave oven provided that the person using it follows instructions accordingly. However, Does pointed out that there has been increasing concern on the possibility of microwaves leaking and posing danger to the users. Although such cases have been reported in the past, Does contend that they did not cause serious injuries except mere burns from hot food from the oven. In another related case, Does noted that studies have pointed out that microwaves have the potential of interfering with the pacemakers. To avoid possible dangers of interference in future, the modern pacemakers is shielded from microwave interference. However, Wayne & Newell are in disagreement with Does. According to the results of their investigations, microwaves are some of the most risky waves and there is little information reaching the public about the biological hazards that are likely to occur upon exposure. Their concerns are drawn from certain warnings. For example, certain recommendations suggest that although microwaves can be used to safely heat or cook food, it is not recommended for baby’s milk. Their worries are also based on the observations such as the question of why microwaves were banned in Russia since 1976. Records of one of the past unsuccessful blood transfusion show that microwave heated blood killed a patient in Oklahoma. Their arguments are also drawn from basic hypothesis of natural medicine. For example, one such hypothesis states that the introduction of molecules and energies into the human body where the body is not used to such molecules and energies could be very harmful. Further inquiries in a Swiss clinical study into the effects of microwave food on nutrients suggested that it causes nutrients to degenerate in food. Besides that, blood samples taken from volunteers of microwaved milk showed varying levels of biological changes with some having a potential to degenerate into leukemia. Wayne & Newell further argued that the original inventors of microwaves did not meant it for use in cooking food. For example, the Nazi’s invented ovens for use in attacking Russia. Other studies in the pas t suggested that every microwaved food was not safe since microwave oven leaks electromagnetic waves, degenerate food nutrients, and converts food content into oregano-toxic and carcinogenic product. Wayne & Newell content that the findings tabled by Russian investigators were so convincing that microwave ovens should not be used. Evidence from the Russian scientists suggest microwave technology induces cancer-causing effects, it results in nutritive destruction of foods, and it causes biological effects upon exposure. Despite all these concerns of safety, the world Health Organization (WHO) contend that microwaves are safe provided that the user follows manufacturer’s instructions. However, they pointed out that some of the only injuries one can get from microwaves are thermal burns. According to WHO, any claim that microwave oven is harmful are just mere misconceptions with no scientific evidence to back up.
Although there is widespread controversies surrounding the use of microwaves, it appears there has been little effort to reach a conclusive finding that will be accepted by everyone. Nonetheless, research findings presented so far are enough to warrant caution for anyone using microwaves. Microwaves ovens are safe to use provided there are no leakages of radio waves. It is therefore important that people use microwave ovens according to instructions. Future research should be intensified on the potential impacts of microwave exposure. The future trials should solely consider impacts of radio waves in a microwave oven as opposed to a large family of micro waves.
Banik, S., Bandyopadhyay, S., and Ganguly, S. 2003. Bio effects of microwave––a brief review. Bioresource Technology, 87 (2003): 155-159
Datta, A.K. Handbook of Microwave Technology for Food Application. Basel: Marcel Dekker AG, 2001. Print.
Does, R.F. Microwaves, Radio Waves, and Other Types of Radiofrequency Radiation. American Cancer Society, 16 October 2013. Web. 22 April 2015
Pakhomov, Andrei G., et al. Current state and implications of research on biological effects of millimeter waves. Bioelectromagnetics 19.7 (1998): 393-413.
Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications and Computation (SMECC). Microwave Oven. SMECC, 2007. Web. 23 April 2015.
Wayne & Newell. The Hidden Hazards of Microwave Cooking. Health Science, 2015. Web. 22 April 2015.
Word Health Organization (WHO). Electromagnetic fields & public health: Microwave ovens. World Health Organization, February 2005. Web. 23 April 2015.