Microwave ovens are generally safe when used correctly. But there are multiple reports of people having experienced burns, and in rare cases, other injuries from microwave radiation, particularly in cases involving improper use or maintenance. Actual waves produced by microwave ovens are a type of electromagnetic radiation. These waves cause water molecules in the food to vibrate. These vibrations, in turn, produce the heat that produce the desired cooking effect. The waves are produced a part inside the oven called a Magnetron. They are reflected within the oven’s metal interior; can pass through glass, paper, plastic, and similar materials; and are absorbed by food. Most injuries related to microwave ovens are the result of heat-related burns from hot containers, overheated foods, or exploding liquids. Therefore, make sure to follow the manufacturers instructions.
1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Directions in the user manual provide the much needed operating procedures and safety precautions. For instance, you should not use | run some microwave ovens when they are empty. In addition, you should not heat water or liquids longer than the recommended time. This may sometimes scald.
2. Use microwave-safe containers. 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.
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.
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. It is recommended that you do not use an oven if the door doesn’t close firmly or is bent, warped, or otherwise damaged.
5. Don’t use ovens that seem to operate when the door is open. There have been increasing reports about microwave ovens that appear to stay on—and operate—when the door is open. It is recommended that you immediately stop using the microwave oven if this happens.