Contrary to popular belief, microwaves do not cause cancer. It has been held by so many people that microwaves cause food to be radioactive, thus making food cancer-causing agents.

According to Cancer Council NSW, cooking food using the microwave is just like cooking food using any other method.

“Microwave ovens heat food by producing radiation which is absorbed by water molecules in the food. This makes the water molecules vibrate and produce heat, which cooks the food. Microwaves heat food. They do not make any changes to food that aren’t made in any other cooking method. So they do not make food any more likely to cause cancer.”
World Health Organization Recommendations on Microwave use

These assertions have been further held by the World Health Organization, that says that microwaves ovens are designed in such a way that the radiation they produce is only present when the door is closed and the oven is switched on. Thus, the probability of leakage to the surrounding is very low.

The WHO has however given the following recommendations in the use of microwaves:
  1. Do not use plastic containers, only use containers that are labelled safe for use in the microwave.
  2. Microwave leakage can still occur around damaged, dirty or modified microwave ovens, keep your microwave in good condition and do not use faulty microwave ovens.
  3. Check that the door closes properly and that the safety interlock devices, fitted to the door to prevent microwaves from being generated while it is open, work correctly.
  4. Food heated in a microwave oven should rest for several minutes after cooking is completed to allow the heat to distribute throughout the food.
  5. Only certain microwave ovens are designed to sterilize items
  6. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  7. Burn injuries can result from handling hot items heated in a microwave oven, take precautions.