Woman's Hands Closing Microwave Oven Door And Preparing Food At Home

Environmental Tip – 4th Quarter

Cooking with a microwave – yes please!


Opinion is divided on the issue of microwaves – devil’s device or a useful everyday helper? There are a lot of rumours about micro-waves. It is claimed, for example, that they cause blood cancer, carcinogenic radicals in vegetables or de-nature water and food through their radiation. In addition, nutrients are said to disappear and toxins are formed.

According to the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), a microwave is no more harmful than a stove or oven. The maximum radiation emission of microwave devices is determined by the BfS. Thus, there must be no more than 5 mW/cm² of radiation within 5cm of the microwave. This is roughly equivalent to the radiation of a mobile phone in one’s trouser pocket. If microwave radiation directly struck the human body, this would indeed lead to irreparable damage. However, since the microwave is a metal cage with a metal mesh and a glass front, there is no risk from it being used in a normal way. However, you should observe some safety instructions when using the microwave. You should, for instance, not stand directly in front of the glass front when the microwave is switched on, as especially one’s eyes have difficulty in dissipating the heat. The preparation of baby food and food such as eggs and poultry should preferably be done on the stove, since germs such as salmonella cannot be reliably destroyed in the microwave.

From an energy point of view, there is something to be said in favour of the microwave. Especially for the preparation of small quantities of food, the use of a microwave is favourable as it consumes much less energy than an oven. For example, the preparation of two cheese toasts takes not only less time but also only one tenth of the energy consumption of an electric oven. Even the preparation of 250g of potatoes consumes 30% less energy than a microwave. However, for the preparation of large quantities, you should again resort to the stove.

Another positive aspect of the use of the microwave is the reduction of food waste. If you have cooked too much food, you can warm it up again the next day and it doesn’t have to be disposed of. If you take your food into the office the next day, it not only saves on a visit to the supermarket or the snack bar around the corner but also helps to avoid waste as no additional plastic, polystyrene or aluminium packaging arises.

Also, the point that the microwave excessively reduces nutrients has been disproved. As compared to the preparation of food on the stove or in the oven, the fewest nutrients are lost in the microwave.

To sum up, the microwave can be employed as a useful everyday helper. It saves not only a lot of time in the preparation of dishes but also power, money, and resources.


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With Arqum News, we inform our project partners once a quarter about current developments in environmental law and environmental management as well as about news at Arqum. In addition, there is a tip of the quarter with which you can motivate your employees, colleagues and acquaintances to behave in an environmentally conscious manner.

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