Induction cooking surfaces appear on hobs from numerous appliance companies. The popularity of the technology stems from its quick heating capability, potential energy savings and reduced possibility of burning food and people. However, some questions arise regarding the dangers of using induction cooking. Before you select an induction range, you will need to know if the process is safe.
Hobs with inductive elements heat through the use of magnetic energy. The magnetic field created when the device is switched on immediately heats the cooking pan. Only the pan and the food inside it warm up, so there is less potential for burns and less energy is wasted. Not all cooking pans react with the magnetic field, however, so users need to cook with cast iron, magnetic steel and magnetic stainless steal in order to create the reaction.
Although not a danger caused by induction cooking itself, the cookware for induction stoves poses some risk. Although some people use cast iron cookware because they want to introduce extra iron in their diet, it can be dangerous for others. Some foods absorb a tremendous amount of iron from cast iron pots, so much so that some people can achieve toxic levels of iron in their bodies, especially children under age three. Iron toxicity causes intestinal symptoms, including diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, and may even lead to haemorrhage.
Some consumers express fears about radiation from induction cooking. These units emit radio frequency radiation similar to that of microwave ovens. The radiation level falls away to practically nothing just a foot away from the element. Studies consistently show little or no correlation between induction cooking and radiation ailments, including effects on the immune system, heart, blood pressure, nervous system, neurological processing and DNA. Nor have studies shown a link to cancer. Overall, consumers should not fear radiation from induction cooking.
Users with battery-operated medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators, however, do need to exercise caution around induction cooking units. Electromagnetic return interference (EMI) occurs when the electrical energy of one device interrupts that of another, which can occur with induction cookers. The University of Kentucky Health Center suggests that people with such devices maintain a distance of at least 6 inches between the implanted item and the stove, and contact their doctor regarding any concerns.