Are microwave ovens banned in Japan, South Korea and China, because they emit unhealthy radiation?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Microwave Ovens Are Banned In Japan, Korea + China!
People are sharing this message on WhatsApp, which claims that Japan, South Korea and China have banned microwave ovens because they emit “unhealthy vibrations and radiation”!
End of Microwave industry!!!!! Japan govt has decided to high dispose of all the Microwave Ovens in the country before this year end.
Reason for this ban: University of Hiroshima’s scientists researched and found that “radio waves” from microwave ovens cause greater harm to health over the last 20 yrs, than the US atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Sep 1945.
Experts found that food heated in microwave ovens has very unhealthy vibrations and radiation.
All the factories of “microwave ovens” in Japan are being closed.
S Korea announced plans to close all “microwave ovens” factories by 2021, and China by 2023.
Truth : Microwave Ovens Are NOT Banned In Japan, Korea + China!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : This Hoax Started As Satire
This fake story started as a “satirical article” by the Russian “satire” website IA Panorama, with the title “Япония окончательно откажется от СВЧ-печей к 2020 году“, which translates as “Japan will finally abandon microwave ovens by 2020”
Like other “satire” websites, IA Panorama creates outlandish stories that are designed to go viral. To avoid the “fake news” label, they put a disclaimer at the bottom of their article :
All texts on this website are grotesque parodies of reality, and are not real news.
Fact #2 : It Gets Recycled Every Year
This fake story gets recycled and shared on Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. every year, with the date and some minor details changed.
The original Russian story only said that Japan was going to ban microwave ovens. In the 2022 edition, that was expanded to include South Korea and China.
Fact #3 : Microwave Ovens Are Not Banned
To be clear – microwave ovens are not getting banned. Not in Japan, not in South Korea, not in China, or anywhere else in the world.
In fact, China and Japan are the second and third biggest markets for microwave ovens in 2022!
Fact #4 : Microwave Ovens Do Not Make Food Radioactive
Microwave ovens work by generating electromagnetic radiation in the microwave frequency range, that excites polar molecules in the food.
This dielectric heating produces thermal energy in a quick and efficient manner, albeit limited to the outer 25-33 mm of the food item.
It does not turn the food radioactive, because the microwave energy is converted into heat as it is absorbed by the food.
Fact #5 : Microwave Radiation Does Not Cause Cancer
The radiation produced by microwave ovens is non-ionising, like radio waves and visible light. The only non-ionising radiation that causes cancer is UV light.
It is unlike ionising radiation like x-rays, alpha and beta particles, and gamma rays, which are high-energy radiation that can change atoms by knocking off their electrons, thereby “ionising” them.
Even if you are exposed to microwave radiation, you won’t develop cancer. However, the microwave radiation will convert into heat when absorbed by your skin.
Fact #6 : Microwave Ovens Are Shielded
The microwave oven is designed to be a partial Faraday cage on five of its six sides, with a Faraday shield (the wire mesh) on its transparent window.
This keeps the microwave energy it produces within the oven, and protects the user from getting “cooked” as well.
If you have seen a Faraday cage demonstration at science shows (like this example below), it’s literally the same thing, just in reverse.
Fact #7 : Microwaved Food Is Safe
Food cooked or heated by microwave are safe to eat. In fact, using the microwave to cook is a healthier alternative to frying or barbecuing foods.
That said, you need to use “microwave safe” wares. If you use plastic containers that are not microwave safe, they could not only melt, they can leach dangerous chemicals into the food.
So the danger lies not in the “nuking” of your food, but in the container you use to “nuke” your food.
Fact #8 : Microwave Ovens Are Efficient
Microwave ovens are very efficient at cooking foods, saving both electricity and time. The fast cooking time also has the advantage of preserving the food’s nutrients.
Microwaving foods do require some preparation though, as the microwaves can only penetrate the outer 25-33 mm of the food item, and will be reflected by aluminium foil, metal utensils or containers, etc.
I hope you found this fact check article useful. Please help us fight fake news by sharing it out!
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.
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