What Level of Microwave oven Radiation is Dangerous?

What is Microwave Oven Radiation?

We generally get panic when we hear a term like radiation, aren’t we? But every radiation is not dangerous and has its own limits. We are safe if the radiation is below the permissible limits and have lesser chances of danger. Even the microwave radiation has a limit to causes danger. We need to know what level of Microwave oven radiation is dangerous.

But, what level of Microwave Radiation is dangerous? Generally, the level of microwave oven radiation is limited to 5 milliwatts (mW) of microwave radiation per square centimeter. The level more than this radiation will not be allowed to the market by the manufacturers because continuous exposure to microwave oven radiation can cause some health problems to human life.

If you are interested in knowing the further details of the topic like what this microwave oven radiation, health problems…etc, then read till the end.

Let us start to know what actually a microwave oven radiation is…

What Level of Microwave oven Radiation is Dangerous?

What Level of Microwave oven Radiation is Dangerous? Microwave Oven Radiation is a type of energy releases from the microwaves. These microwaves are the electromagnetic waves of short radio waves.

microwave oven radiation magnetron

From the above picture, we can see that there are 2 types of radiations namely ionized and non-ionized radiation. These microwaves are falls under non-ionized radiations and X-rays, gamma rays will come under ionizing radiation.

Though the microwaves are not much dangerous, it causes some effects when we expose continuous to it. The frequency of the microwaves is 2.45 GHz with a wavelength of 12.2 cm.

But if we expose to the ionizing radiation, it has the efficiency of changing the DNA of cells and lead to some dangerous diseases.

This is all about the microwave oven radiation.

Now the question is how these microwaves are produced.

How the Microwaves are Produce in the Oven?

The Microwave Oven produces the waves from the key element named as Magnetron. It is the main source for the production of microwaves in the oven.

The magnetron is a vacuum tube with a cylindrical cathode at the center. The outside tube contains several cavities that act as an anode.

With the anode and cathode, an electric field will exist between them along with the perpendicular magnetic field.

Due to the high temperature in the cathode, the electrons in it will excite and releases. The released electrons are attracted to the anode which is outside.

With the excessive negative charge, the electrons tend to oscillate. The oscillating frequency results in the formation of the microwaves which is equal to its frequency.

Thus the microwaves are produced in a microwave oven with the help of Magnetron.

Click here to know more about the physics behind the microwave production in the magnetron.

Working of Oven

The main parts involved in the microwave working are

  • Magnetron
  • Waveguide
  • Stirrer
  • Turn plate

Microwaves produced from the magnetron pass through a waveguide, and reach the inner side of the oven. The stirrer at the top of the oven spread the microwaves inside the oven.

The inner walls of the oven are coated with the reflecting material which helps to reflect the waves within the oven.

Here the waves reflect, bounces back in to and froth motion.

Then the waves get to penetrate into the food and heat the food by vibrating the water molecules of food.

You can observe that the water molecules are the reason for the heat production in the food.

Here a video about the working of microwave oven with some visual diagrams

But how the microwave radiation is dangerous? is the question.

How Microwave Radiation causes Dangerous?

Generally, the microwave radiation is not a big problem if the door of the oven is closed tightly. But the problem arises only if the radiation comes out of the oven.

The reasons for the radiation that comes out of the oven are,

Due to damaged/modified oven

When there are holes, and openings on the surface of the oven, this let the microwaves to allow from the closed walls of the oven to the outer surface.

Damage to the latch of the door

It is quite common to spot faults in the oven door. If you found it try to fix it as soon as possible. The problems like damage to the latch of the door will let the oven to pass the microwaves to the outer surface.

Due to old oven

This problem might be unfamiliar to everyone. The oven which is using from age-old will also allow the microwaves to the outer surface.

All the reasons will results in microwave oven leakage and cause danger to human life.

How to Detect Microwave Leakage?

The factors which cause leakage can be detected by using the microwave oven leakage detector.

The detector detects the range of radiation around the microwaves.

Process of detecting the microwave leakage with a detector

Firstly, you need to keep a glass of water inside the oven before detecting and turn the power switch on.

Because running an empty oven may cause damage to the oven.

As the efficiency of the microwave radiation reduces with the distance far away from it, try to keep the detector just 5 cm away from the oven while detecting.


It is to observe in the meter that the radiation should be less than or equal to 5 milliWatts of microwave radiation per square centimeter.

If you observe more than the ideal reading, then your microwave oven has prone to leakage.

Look at the video if you don’t have time to read the detecting stuff

Health Issues of Microwave oven Leakage:

Being a continuous exposure to microwave radiation leakage results in some health problems. Some of them like,

  • Change in heart rate
  • Blood count changes
  • Damage to the vision
  • Skin burns

Precautions to Avoid Danger from Microwaves:

Here are some very important precautions to take while using microwave ovens.

Stand at a safe distance

As said earlier, if the distance from the oven increases then the effect of the radiation decreases. So, the safe distance to stand away from the oven is 2 inches away.


The general fact is that the oven should be replaced if the age of it exceeds more than 10 years. So, proper maintenance will protect the oven from the damages.

Damaged parts Replacement

The damaged parts are the main reason for the leakages in the oven. So, it’s better to replace the parts with the new one.

Maintain a proper protective metal shield

A protective metal sheet in the door will help our eyes from the damage caused by the microwaves. The holes in the sheet are small enough to protect the eyes from the reflection of the microwave that happens inside the oven.


It is to say that, use this microwave method of cook only when there is no time for you to cook food and avoid eating microwaved food regularly. It’s better to use the other way to cook food if you are more conscious about health.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can cell phones detect microwave leaks? Yes, you can even test the leakage of the oven with the cell phone because the frequencies used for the cell phone and microwaves are equal. If you keep the cell in the oven it cannot ring because the signal gets blocked within the oven.

Is microwave cancerous? No, the food in the oven gets heat by the water molecules in it but not by making it as a radioactive element.

What can block microwaves? An aluminum foil is one of the materials that block the microwaves. Making a shield mesh with aluminum material will completely block the microwaves from the oven.

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