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Radiation from microwave ovens not harmful – GAEC

  4 Septembre      41        Science (485),


Accra, Sept. 3, GNA – Research Scientists at the Radiation Protection Institutes (RPI) of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) have dismissed fears about the health risks of Microwave Ovens.

They explained that radiations emitted by microwave ovens are not harmful because they are non-ionising and could not change the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in man when exposed to this radiation.

« The type of radiation that can be dangerous when exposed and can change human’s DNA and damage the body is the ionizing radiation. It can cause cancer in man as well as defects in pregnant women, » they noted.

The Research Scientists made this known during an interview at the Health Physics Center (HPC) of the RPI at the GAEC in Accra.

The Manager of the HPC, Dr. John Owusu Banahene, shed light on the workings of microwave ovens and noted that they work on the principle of conversion of electromagnetic energy into thermal energy.

He added that these microwaves are produced inside the oven which causes water molecules in the food to vibrate, producing heat that warms the food.

« The microwave energy is changed to heat energy and then absorbed by food, and does not make food radioactive or contaminated, » he emphasised.

Dr Banahene further stated that the microwave oven does not pose any danger even when foods being microwaved are left uncovered.

He, however, noted that microwave oven only poses a health risk if a person is exposed to a faulty oven that leaks some of these non-ionising radiations.

« In the event of such leakages, persons who stay too close to faulty ovens and the human eyes exposed to this radiation while it operates are likely to develop glaucoma and other health complications after a while, » he noted.

In his contribution, Dr Philip Deatanyah, a Research Scientist with the HPC at the RPI admonished users of microwave ovens to keep some distance from it when it is in use.

That, he said, reduces the chances of radiation from the microwave oven having an effect on the human body especially the lens of the eye.

Dr Deatanyah cautioned users of microwave ovens against putting metal utensils such as spoons, forks, and certain grades of plastic materials into microwave ovens, since those objects may overheat and cause severe damage and injury.

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