How Microwaves Work
Microwave ovens work by emitting microwave radiation, which travels through the food and excites its water molecules. A step-up transformer attached to the main power line converts a 120-volt alternating current to a 4kV direct current. After the current passes through the transformer, a magnetron tube increases the vibrational frequency of this electromagnetic current to 2450 MHz. Water molecules in your food respond by vibrating at 2450 MHz. When molecules increase their vibrational speed, they produce heat energy, in turn heating the object.
Dangers of Microwave Radiation
Microwaves have a protective screen inside the door to prevent radiation leakage. Older microwave ovens lose effectiveness in their screen and radiation can leak out. Also, radiation decreases the nutritional value of the food in two ways: first, the friction between the water molecules breaks down proteins and other compounds; second, the food receive doses of radiation that harm humans when ingested. If you absorb the radiation directly through your skin, it causes even more damage. The human body is 70 percent water, and delicate organs like eyes or testicles can suffer damage because the excess heat has no method of escape.
Using Microwaves Safely
To use a microwave safely, stand at least three feet away from it during operation and never directly in front. Don't look directly into the microwave when preparing your food. On a regular basis, inspect the protective screen in the door. If damage exists, don't use the microwave and replace it as soon as possible. To maintain the nutritional value of your food, don't microwave fruits or vegetables. Instead, lightly steam or parboil them.
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