INDUCTION COOKTOPS: All you need to know

Induction cooking: Key takeaways

  • Stay at least 50 cm away from an active induction unit. LiveSAFE recommends staying away from the kitchen when it is ON.
  • Pregnant women, children, and people with cardiac pacemakers must avoid using Induction Cooktop.
  • In lab studies, it was found that pacemaker malfunction occurred in six of 16 pacemakers.
  • Use gloves while cooking on an induction stove.
  • Use cookware made of a conductive metal, with an insulating handle, such as a silicone handle cover.
  • Be mindful that there is radiation while using an induction cooktop.

Do you want to use your induction cooktops and still be safe?

Here’s how!

  • Use a pan or pot that completely covers the cooking zone, otherwise you will likely create stray EMF fields heading in unpredictable directions;
  • Do not use damaged cookware, with buckled or warped bases;
  • Use the rear cooking surfaces, instead of the front ones, so that you put as much space between your body and the cooking area as possible. 
  • Use only cookware that is labelled by the manufacturer as suitable for induction cooking;
  • Stand as far as possible from the cooking surface when in use to reduce your body exposure to EMF.
  • Do not use metal utensils for cooking;
  • If your cookware’s handle is made from a conductive metal, consider purchasing an insulating handle for it, such as a silicone handle cover. Or, for a simpler alternative, use a cooking towel when you touch the handle.
  • These pans are designed to absorb the EMF fields in a proper way that will allow your food to be heated without letting the fields escape.

Introduction

Induction cooktops are electrical cooking appliances that use intermediate-frequency magnetic fields to heat the cooking vessel directly without heating the contact surface of the appliance itself. The magnetic field induces eddy currents in the ferromagnetic base of the cooking vessel and thereby generates heat from resistive losses in the base of the vessel. The induction cookers typically operate in the frequency range between 20 and 100 kHz and can deliver powers of up to 3.6 kW (Millan et al 2010).

The main components of an induction cooker are the induction coils, which are placed below the cooking surface, the ferrite magnetic substrate, and the cooking vessel, which acts as a part of the resonance circuit, absorbs the magnetic field energy and converts it into heat.

In Comparison with conventional (resistive) and glass-ceramic (infrared) cookers.

The advantages

  • Rapid cooking times and
  • Higher Energy Efficiency

The disadvantages

  • EXPOSURE TO EMF

Possible Exposures
Exposure scenarios could also include children and pregnant women that belong to a particularly sensitive group of users. It is accepted that children are generally more susceptible than adults to some environmental, physical, and chemical influences. It is evident that such vulnerability also exists for EMFs.

It is important to note, that pregnant women and children or individuals who rely on pacemakers, should avoid cooking with an induction cooktop entirely.

  • Is Induction Cooking Safe for Pregnant women?

In particular, interesting is the case of pregnant women in front of the cooker, the foetus is at a very small distance to the source of the magnetic field. Still for those would-be mothers who are too precautious, ensure that you are at least a foot (or 30 cm) away from an active induction unit, which practically nullifies any RF radiation effect on human

  • Is Induction Cooking Safe for children?

Furthermore, children might also occasionally use domestic cooking appliances and their height would put their heads, and therefore their central nervous system, closer to the field source than adults.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21878710/

  • Is Induction Cooking Safe with a Pacemaker?

People with pacemakers suggested not to use induction. Patients are at risk if the implant is unipolar and left-sided, if they stand as close as possible to the induction cooktop, and if the pot is not concentric with the induction coil.

Pacemaker malfunction occurred in six of 16 pacemakers. Interaction developed almost immediately after high-intensity magnetic field exposure started. With each waveform, at least two pacemakers exhibited interference. In most exposure settings, there was no interference at magnetic field levels below the international occupational safety limits.

Electromagnetic Interference of Implantable Unipolar Cardiac Pacemakers by an Induction Oven” it can be concluded that for someone with an implanted pacemaker the safe distance from an induction unit is 50 cm or more.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16635999/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22231158/

Standard levels of exposure
The averaged magnetic flux density in front of the device has to be below the 1998 ICNIRP guidelines reference levels for the general public (ICNIRP 1998), which is 6.25 μT i.e.,0.000625 μW/m2 for the range from 800 Hz to 150 kHz, which includes all the frequencies used in induction cookers.

Basic threshold values –

  • Low-frequency fields at 50 Hz: current density of 2 mA/m2
  • Medium-frequency fields: 50 mA/m2 at 25 kHz to 140 mA/m2 at 70 kHz.

Few Induction-manufacturers quote that there is no evidence that EMF from Induction cooktops are not dangerous!

  • Also, the study advises that people, especially pregnant women and small children, should avoid close contact (less than 30 cm/11.8 inches) with induction burners because of the stray radiation given off by them under certain conditions (such as when cookware is not properly centred on the hob).
  • However, if you read the entire study, it explains that even as close as 1 cm, the radiation does notexceed safe limits and, more importantly, that “According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no compelling evidence of medium-frequency magnetic fields having long-term effects on health.”

http://www.inis.si/fileadmin/user_upload/INIS/publikacije/2011_08_30_Bor_PMB.pdf

However, few Induction manufacturers have also come up with solutions for beating the EMF factor!

  • With antimagnetic shields being built in the new range of cooktops and manufacturers developing new technologies to help induction beat the EMF factor, soon safety factor for induction cooking will become 100% and a cause of worry of the past.
  • Few Indian manufacturers have already adopted antimagnetic shields in their products.