Safety of induction cooking
March 9, 2014 11:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm considering renting an apartment with an induction stovetop. I had not been familiar with induction cooking, and in Googling it came across some sites that express concerns about the potential effects of electromagnetic fields generated by induction cooking (example: Swiss Federal Office of Public Health). I would like some more informed opinion on this subject (not "I have one and I'm fine"), specifically on the potential for harm and possible effects, either in linked readings elsewhere or from knowledgeable members of the community. Thanks in advance.
posted by John Raskolnikov Gilson to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is completely and utterly ridiculous.

1) occams razor should let you feel comfortable that induction cooktops are sold all across world in countries with incredibly strict safety regulations, much safer than US.

2) which is all moot anyway because the field is only about two centimetres thick (i.e. less than an inch).

So even if it was harmful (it's not, what would these fields do that an environment already saturated with electromagnetic radiation from wireless, mobile phones, tv radio, the sun etc doesn't), the only thing close enough be affected is your pan.

There is a lot of confusion about electromagnetic radiation out there.
posted by smoke at 11:43 PM on March 9, 2014 [12 favorites]

From your own link:

"None of the measurements exceeded the ICNIRP reference value at a distance of at least 5 - 10 cm, the distance most likely to occur in practice, when the pans were used correctly"

So unless you're putting your face on the hot zone you're good.

What is the limit? Again from your own link:
"Very strong currents can possibly excite nerves of the central nervous system. The exposure limits of ICNIRP allow only currents, which are 50 times smaller than the threshold for stimulation of the central nervous system"

That is incredibly conservative, especially as (from your link), " According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no compelling evidence of medium-frequency magnetic fields having long-term effects on health. "

So there's no evidence it's harmful, at all, and fact there's evidence it's not - but if it somehow is, the cooktop is fifty times lower than what it's noticeable at all in the human body.

That's pretty safe, homes. Don't forget gas cooktops put out carbon monoxide etc too, esp if they are not working right, but they are still quite, quite safe.induction isn't very new technology, it's been around for several decades now. You're good.
posted by smoke at 12:00 AM on March 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

Did you even read that Swiss link? There may be a caution for people wearing pacemakers, every one else should try and stay 5-10 cm away. So don't sit on it while switched on and you should be good.
posted by epo at 12:03 AM on March 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

On that - God help me, you probably think I'm from Big Induction by now - the vast majority of models are built to switch off after five seconds of no contact from something ferrous, even if switched on.
posted by smoke at 12:14 AM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Googling it came across some sites that express concerns about the potential effects of electromagnetic fields generated by induction cooking

Magnetic fields. Induction heating works works by creating a magnetic field in the bottom of the pan and then reversing it. This oscillating magnetic field gives rise to alternating electric currents in the base of the metal pan which cause it to "self-heat".

An induction cooker does not generate radio waves like a microwave oven does.

Moreover, ferrous metals have a high level of magnetic permeability - as compared to air - which means that when the cooker is on and a pan is placed over the element, the magnetic lines of flux are almost fully contained within the base of the pan (which is why the method is so efficient.)
posted by three blind mice at 1:05 AM on March 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Have you seen the page on microwave ovens from that same link? If you hadn't heard of microwave ovens before, I expect you would be equally freaked out after reading it.

I think that page is just going to excessive amounts of care in mentioning every possible danger that might ever exist with anything. Don't pay it too much heed.
posted by lollusc at 1:33 AM on March 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Induction Site provides some useful information - and I found it helpful when moving into a house with an induction hob. They have addressed radiation safety concerns in great detail . You will notice that their pros and cons page makes some side-swipes of at the comparative safety of gas based cookers - for example as documented by Gascape.

Scare claims aimed at gas cooking are probably almost as exaggerated as those against induction cookers - but they are a reminder that all forms or cooker carry potential safety risks.
posted by rongorongo at 6:30 AM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is going to be a pretty hefty pile-on, but I think it's important to pick up on
It is not currently known whether magnetic fields originating from induction hobs represent a health risk.
It is not known whether wearing black socks makes you more likely to need glasses, but the fact that loads of people wear black socks and no link has been found is strong evidence that there is no connection. There's no reason to run a randomised controlled trial to test it.
posted by katrielalex at 8:17 AM on March 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

An induction cooker does not generate radio waves like a microwave oven does.

Induction stoves operate at 25KHz to 75KHz which is definitely in the radio wave band.
posted by JackFlash at 10:19 AM on March 10, 2014

« Older Moving out of a rented room in PA. What do I need...   |   Artists similar to Kasner, Hess, Bannon? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.