Since last week I revealed the dangers of microwaving your food, I thought I would go ahead and discuss another new up and coming way of cooking – Induction Stoves. I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as an induction stovetop until an acquaintance recently told me about them. She was at the home of a young couple who had just bought a new condo, equipped with a shiny, glass stovetop.
She decided to boil some water for tea and thought she was cooking on an ordinary electric stovetop until she realized that there was no heat being generated underneath the pot she was boiling water in! What??
Yours may be one of the 5-10% of American households that currently have an induction stovetop. Or perhaps you know someone who raves about how fast it heats foods up and how easy it is to clean.
Even though a small percentage of the population owns an induction range at this time, upgrades in technology and downgrades in price are making them more affordable─ and more attractive─ to families on the go. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the independent market research company Mintel in 2010, 22 percent of those polled said their next stovetop would be an induction.
I can completely understand the draw of anything that makes the daily chore of cooking easier and faster. Unfortunately, however, the jury is still out on how safe induction technology really is.
Induction Uses Electro-Magnetic Energy
The hazards of microwave ovens are well-known and documented. Like I discussed in last week’s blog, microwaving uses electromagnetic energy to agitate the water molecules in food, causing it to heat items quickly from the inside out.
Induction also works with electromagnetics but in a slightly different way. An induction “hob,” or ring, alternates magnetic field currents in order to heat the cooking vessel itself, not the surface below it. According to Powerwatch, “High EMFs are generated by the cooker on purpose, and these EMFs induce currents to flow in the metal pans which cause them to heat up. Most induction stove tops now use low radio frequency signals which induce currents in the pan (and people standing nearby!) more easily. As very high EMFs are generated on purpose and these extend into the user, we cannot recommend this way of cooking.”
The top of the cooker stays relatively cool and is mostly heated by contact with the hot pan. In the case of induction stovetops, these vessels must be made of “ferrous metals,” or metals that contain a magnetic charge. Iron and steel are the most common types of ferrous metals found in the kitchen; glass will not work on an induction stovetop.
Questionable Approval Standards for Induction Stovetops
While sources like Consumer Reports and even Dr. Weil strangely claim that the technology is safe for human exposure, current studies say something quite different.
A 2012 study published in the journal Bioelectromagnetics questions the way in which induction ovens were approved in the first place while bringing to light their inherent dangers.
Induction stovetops originally got the stamp of approval because they were said to comply with the standards for EMF exposure outlined by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) as long a person is standing at least one foot away from the unit. REALLY?! One foot away?
I don’t know about you, but my arms aren’t long enough to comfortably stand 1 foot away from the stove when I am cooking, especially when I am using the back burners as well!
Fortunately, the researchers from the Swiss Foundation for Research on Information Technologies in Society (IT’IS) conducted tests on individuals who were standing less than a foot away from the stove. The results were startling.
The study concluded that the majority of induction rings, or hobs, exceeded the maximum exposure levels set by ICNIRP when a person was standing less than a foot from the stove. The worst case scenario showed a 16-fold increase in exposure levels.
Of particular concern is the effect EMF exposure from induction stovetops could have on the brain tissue of children as well as on pregnant women or women of childbearing years. For children, a mere 2-fold increase (6 dB) of EMF beyond the standard is considered dangerous.
How EMF Effects You
EMF stands for Electro-Magnetic Field and is genreated by common household electronic devices such as clock radios, blow dryers, computers and cell phones. Also called electro-pollution, exposure to too much of tis toxin has been documented in hundreds of studies to be a serious health hazard that can lead to inflammation, neurological damage, cataracts and even cancer. A 10-year study conducted by more than two dozen international acclaimed scientists called The Bio-Initiative Report examined the data and concluded that electro-pollution’s detrimental effects on the human immune system was very clear.
Electro-pollution has been labeled the “deadliest toxin on the planet.” because you can’t see it, feel it, smell it or taste it, but it is affects you 24/7. Now the evidence is pointing to the increasingly-popular induction stovetop as being another major source of this “dirty” power in your home. Is ease and convenience worth the risk to your health and that of your family? Essential # 2 is to Reduce Your Toxic Exposure, and induction stovetops definitely fall under the category of toxic exposure.