For the most part, infrared toaster ovens are efficient, effective and safe. Infrared is a type of radiation that heats objects on contact. Microwave ovens use microwave radiation in much the same way. When infrared light hits an object, it excites the surface electrons and triggers oscillation that produces heat. Infrared technology is used in several home appliances including barbecue grills, bathroom heat lamps, light bulbs and toaster ovens.
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One of the dangers of infrared toasters is the splatter hazard. Foods that splatter during cooking can interfere with the uniform transmission of infrared light. This can result in scorched food particles and can present a fire hazard. Be careful to cover foods with a metal tray if there is a chance they might splatter, and keep a home fire extinguisher on hand just in case.
Infrared light generates extreme heat that can cause severe burns. Avoid opening your toaster oven when it is actively cooking. Do not touch any surface on the inside of the oven when you are removing food. While the heat is dangerous, it dissipates quickly, so the danger only lasts a few minutes.
Infrared light is not visible to the naked eye. As such, it is possible to damage the retina without realising it is in danger. Infrared rays can easily pass through eye without triggering the same kind of aversion effect you might experience in bright ultraviolet light, like blinking or turning away. Do not stare directly into your toaster oven while it is on. Many toaster ovens have tinted doors to prevent accidental retinal damage.
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