Are Induction Cooktops Safe?
Buying an induction stove is an rare purchase. Presently, the change towards substituting electric cooktops with induction cooktops is very popular. Induction cooktops are very fast and save energy.
Induction cooktops can also shut down automatically when you take the pot off the cooktop, even if you forget to turn them off. In addition, newer induction cooktops can sense what is sitting on a burner and automatically adjust the energy output to the size of the pan.
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They are commonly used in commercial kitchens and are now being introduced into your home. Another good read is our post How does induction cooking work?
How it works
Induction cooktops are basically electromagnets. They are copper coils that become magnetic when an electrical current is passed through them. When a pan is placed on the burner, the pan becomes an extension of the electromagnet.
The pan gets very hot through this electromagnetic process, and that’s the reason why only steel metals work with the induction burners. Heating happens quickly, which is why induction cooking is very fast and efficient.
During this process, the pan becomes magnetized, a small current passes from the cookware to your body when the pan is touched. This current is called electromagnetic frequency (EMF) or radiation. This is one of the reasons why people are so careful while using induction cooking.
Induction stoves use electricity and have some electrical appliance hazards. They emit electromagnetic field (EMF) or radiation like every other appliance. But how dangerous are EMFs and how dangerous is the induction stove?
The answers depend on who you ask. Some might argue that they cause harm to human’s health like headaches, cancer, nausea to malignant tumors while other believe that it's completely harmless.
With this in mind, we should take a look at Electromagnetic field (EMF). EMF’s and the controversies around according to scientists.
Electric fields are created by differences in voltage: The higher the voltage, the stronger will be the resultant field. Magnetic fields are created when electric current flows; the greater the current, the stronger the magnetic field. An electric field will exist even when there is no current flowing. If current does flow, the strength of the magnetic field will vary with power consumption but the electric field strength will be constant.
The electric field and magnetic fields work together, and they both exist anywhere there is an electrical charge. This is why they are classified into one category called electromagnetic fields. The emissions from the electric field and magnetic field are called electromagnetic radiation.
There are several sources of EMF’s. They exist in our day-to-day activities and are abundant in nature, such as in the atmosphere, the sun, and the earth itself. The sun is a huge source of electromagnetic radiation, including the ultraviolet light and visible light. The ultraviolet rays of the sun are harmful to human flesh and are estimated to cause about 1 million cases of skin cancer a year. However, life on earth would not exist if not for the visible light from the sun—photosynthesis.
Related Topic: Induction Cooktop FAQ
So how do we label the natural EMFs? Good or bad?
Most people are not really concerned about the naturally occurring EMFs, not withstanding that we are exposed to large amounts of these EMFs in our lives. These EMFs can cause more harm to the body than the manmade EMFs.
Manmade EMFs surround us, unless we decide to go off-grid completely. The laptops we use for our daily businesses, the ceiling fans that provide air, the lamps we use, our house wiring, the Wi-Fi that connects us to the internet, cell phones, and of course our kitchen appliances including an induction cooktop.
All electrical appliances generate electromagnetic fields—radiation, as do all cell towers, radio towers, and power lines you see and live with every day. And when you go to the doctor, you may be X-rayed or given an MRI—these, too, generate radiation. In the case of X-rays, very dangerous radiation.
Controversies around EMFs
In the early 80s, an experiment was carried out by some groups of scientists who found a connection between higher rates of cancer (particularly, leukemia in children) in proximity to power lines. These EMFs were categorized as a 2b carcinogen by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer). A 2b classification simply means likely harmful to human but no conclusive and concrete evidence was found.
Since then, several types of research have been carried by scientists all over the world in both the private and public sectors to find a solution to these findings. Till date, no study has come up with substantial evidence about this initial study, and so, no causal relationship has been found between power lines (electricity) and higher rates of cancer in any form, for people using and those who live close to them.
Other sources of EMFs such as our telephones, have been tested extensively, and evidence has shown that radiation emitted by electrical devices has no permanent effect as was speculated.
All the controversy and hype around electromagnetic fields are rooted in ignorance. The truth is that EMFs can be dangerous but it's important to know when and under what circumstances they can be. In this case, it’s important that you know that those used by people in daily activities are considered safe to use.
Similar to microwave radio frequencies, Induction cooktops generate a low-frequency radiation. Avoid the use of metallic cooking spoons, which may allow current flow through your body when cooking. During your daily use, the induction cooktop is not always close to you for you to absorb enough radiation that can harm you. Choosing an induction cooktop over an electric cooktop can be challenging without knowing the benefits of each.