Learning that any form of cooking exposes you to radiation is scary stuff, so naturally, you’ll wonder if the radiation from induction cooking is okay. I’ll tell you in this article!
Is radiation from induction cooking safe? Induction cooktops produce non-ionizing radiation which has lower energy rates and cannot break down chemical bonds like live tissue in humans. By standing a distance from the induction cooktop while it’s on, you’re even safer.
In today’s guide, I’ll explain in detail how induction cooktops produce radiation, what level of radiation this is, and whether it’s safe for you and your family.
Let’s get started!
How Does Induction Cooking Work? An Introduction to Radiation
Induction Cooking 101
You’ve probably used your induction cooktop many times, but are you privy to how induction cooktops truly works? If not, then allow me to explain.
When operating an induction cooktop, alternating current or AC power travels from the cooktop wire to the coil underneath the cooktop.
As this happens, the wire and coil create a magnetic field, which generates an electric current that heats up your food and cooks it to perfection.
The electric current does not spread throughout the entire cooktop but only the cookware. This allows an induction cooktop to stay cool while the cookware heats up.
Oh, another thing about the electric current. It’s technically an electromagnetic frequency, commonly known as an EMF, aka radiation.
EMFs occur when voltage differences present themselves.
A higher rate of voltage will produce a stronger electrical current.
While electric fields don’t need a flowing current, magnetic fields do. Combining both electric and magnetic fields is how you get EMFs.
EMFs are all around us, probably more so than you realized.
For instance, when a thunderstorm occurs, it’s because so much electrical charge accumulated that it has to burn off, in a way.
The sun even produces electromagnetic radiation through ultraviolet and visible light.
Now, just because EMFs are naturally occurring doesn’t mean they’re inherently safe, but that’s a discussion for the next section. This is simply an explanation.
EMFs also exist in so much of the technology we use in our day-to-day lives, including your home’s electrical wiring, your computer or smartphone, and even your Wi-Fi connection.
Is Radiation from Induction Cooking Safe? How Much Radiation Does Induction Cooking Produce?
So let’s bring it back to induction cooktops for a moment.
I’ve made it clear that these kitchen appliances generate radiation, but the question becomes, how much? And is that amount safe?
To answer that question, we need a bit more exposition about radiation, namely, the difference between non-ionizing and ionizing radiation.
Radiation at both low and high frequencies can be non-ionizing or ionizing.
Ionizing radiation can destroy chemical bonds, such as the bonds that exist in your human tissue.
Prolonged exposure to ionizing radiation might foster the growth of abnormal cells that could become cancerous.
On the electromagnetic spectrum, the wavelengths become increasingly more intense, beginning with the relatively benign radio waves, followed by microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, and then ultraviolet rays, X-rays, and gamma rays.
The latter three would count as ionizing radiation, which is why you always wear sunblock when venturing out into the sun (or at least, you should!).
One’s exposure to ionizing radiation isn’t necessarily enough to cause ill effects that one time. Rather, it’s more of a cumulative effect that can build over months or years.
All the other wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum under ultraviolet light are non-ionizing, and that would indeed include induction cooktops.
The slowed movement speed and length of non-ionizing wavelengths reduces their frequency and thus their energy, causing the waves to bounce off of you rather than go through you.
According to a 2020 report from the California Energy Commission, induction hobs produce 6.25 microteslas if the person using the hob stands at least 30 centimeters away. That’s approximately 11.8 inches.
A microtesla is a unit that measures the rate of magnetic flux density.
How safe is that? A Los Angeles Times article states that the magnetic field of planet earth is only between 30 and 60 microteslas and that power line fields must operate at no higher than 100 microteslas.
In other words, pretty safe!
Does an Induction Cooker Cause Cancer?
Next, I want to address a question that I’m sure has been lingering on your mind the entire time you’ve been reading this.
Can using an induction cooktop cause cancer?
You’ll recall how the effects of ionizing radiation are cumulative and can eventually mutate cells to cause cancer, but induction cookers are non-ionizing. Thus, it’s a different story.
So let’s see what the science says.
According to the National Cancer Institute,
“Lower-energy, non-ionizing forms of radiation, such as visible light and the energy from cell phones, have not been found to cause cancer in people.”National Cancer Institute
If you’re like me you need more than one trusted source. That’s why I wanted to include this quote from the European Code Against Cancer.
“Electric, magnetic, or electromagnetic fields emitted from devices such as electrical appliances, broadcasting transmitters, power lines or electrical wiring, mobile phones, or other wireless communication do not have enough energy to break chemical bonds.”European Code Against Cancer
The European Code Against Cancer goes on to say that although the biological effects of non-ionizing radiation fields can be at higher levels in some instances like tissue heating or nerve stimulation, even so, “these types of non-ionizing radiation are not recognized as causes of cancer.”
The group does note that more research into smartphones and mobile devices is recommended considering our reliance on them but that otherwise, the stance stands.
Non-ionizing radiation does not cause cancer.
Is Induction Cooking Safe During Pregnancy?
Of course, everything changes when you’re pregnant.
You’re forced to evaluate everything you use and everything you do, from the products you put on your body such as lotions and body washes to what you eat and what you expose yourself to on a day-to-day basis.
Each day, you’re growing a baby that will eventually become a little person, the most important person in your life.
The last thing you want to do is expose them to radiation from an induction cooktop or a microwave.
Well, if you’re pregnant right now or you know someone who is, you can breathe a bit easier.
Induction cooktops and the non-ionizing radiation they emit is not likely to harm the mother or the growing fetus since the radiation is on such a low frequency.
However, ultra-cautious mothers might wish to stand at least 12 inches or 30 centimeters away just to be on the safe side.
Those who are extremely guarded, either due to miscarriage or just an overabundance of caution could always let their partner or spouse use the induction cooktop for the next nine months.
Is Induction Cooking Safe for Pacemakers?
Do you have a pacemaker or does someone in your family like an elderly parent? You can’t help but wonder about the functioning of the pacemaker after being exposed to any radiation.
First, a quick explanation of how a pacemaker works.
A pacemaker includes at least one lead (but very often two) and a pacemaker box that has a tiny computer and a battery.
The pacemaker relies on electricity. The device monitors the heart, and when the person’s heart rate slows to a certain point, the pacemaker generates electricity to restore the heart rate.
Since it produces electricity and so does an induction cooktop, there does exist the potential for some conflicts.
The strength of electromagnetic fields generated from an induction cooktop, as I’ve established this entire time, is not very strong.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent.
If someone with a pacemaker were to stand too close to an induction cooktop, the British Heart Foundation reports that the electromagnetic fields could disrupt how a pacemaker works.
How? The pacemaker might not be able to send electrical impulses to the heart.
If one’s heart was skipping beats or beating too slowly and they couldn’t get the help they needed from their pacemaker, that could be a possibly life-threatening scenario.
The opposite could also happen, where the pacemaker begins shooting off electrical impulses to the heart even when it’s not needed due to its proximity to the electromagnetic fields from the induction cooktop.
This can cause a person’s heart to kick into high gear.
The older one is, the riskier it is for their heart to beat too quickly, such as more than 100 beats per minute when at rest. Cardiac arrest can occur, often rather suddenly, as can stroke or heart attack.
Any of these can be fatal.
The British Heart Foundation recommends that someone with a pacemaker who uses an induction cooktop stand at least two feet away from the cooktop at all times.
Is Induction Cooking Healthy? The Effects of Induction Cooking on the Nutritional Value of Food
Now that I’ve established that induction cooking can be safe, you may wonder just how healthy it is.
Recalling that induction cooking causes foods to heat to very high temperatures while leaving the cooking surface cool, all that heating and even boiling can reduce some of the food’s nutritional value.
Healthfully cites a stat from the USDA that found that the range of nutrient loss is between 0 and 75 percent.
That doesn’t only go for induction cooking, by the way, but frying, boiling, and baking foods as well.
Induction cooking vegetables will cause minor mineral losses, but more vitamins are retained than using other cooking methods.
However, meats lose significantly more nutrients when prepared on an induction cooktop.
Healthfully notes that thiamin especially will be leached and degraded from the meat while it’s being cooked.
Thiamin is also referred to as vitamin B1. It’s a vitamin that can limit complications in the intestines, stomach, heart, muscles, brain, and nervous system.
Additionally, vitamin B1 keeps electrolytes moving into and out of nerve and muscle cells. You don’t want to lose it if you don’t have to!