Many people mistake convection ovens for conventional ovens. Maybe it’s because their names sound similar and people think they are synonyms. The difference between the two is the presence of a fan in convection ovens which conventional ovens lack.
This fan is used for heat distribution, which makes cooking more time-efficient and effective. Some microwaves have convection ovens too, and you probably have heard from someone that microwaves cause cancer.
Following that logic, you might be wondering if convection ovens cause cancer too. Truth be told, neither of these devices causes cancer and these are all myths which have been disproven a long time ago.
Among other things, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of regulating the manufacturing of all sorts of kitchen appliances, including microwaves. Ever since 1971, the FDA standards for microwaves which have to be followed have been in place. If a microwave doesn’t comply with these standards, the products won’t reach the market.
The products that get the FDA’s approval are officially safe to use and are not radioactive. Many people believe that radioactive energy used for heating up food with these ovens causes cancer. However, that radiation is safely kept within the metal construction of said ovens.
These waves are also much smaller and weaker than people imagine. Microwaves are actually very useful in many areas (telecommunication, industry, cooking, etc.) and none of these uses are banned yet.
People use microwave ovens which use the most basic form of microwaves. These waves excel in food preparation because they can pass through many materials such as plastic, glass, paper, etc. Also, they are absorbed by food and are reflected by metal.
To put it simply, these “bad” waves are trapped inside the oven and they can never reach you and cause cancer as long as you are careful while handling your convection oven.
The microwave energy is not contained within your food. Instead, it is turned into heat and evaporated into the air; the food is perfectly safe for consumption. However, you should buy only convection ovens from certified manufacturers who use quality materials and follow all the safety standards.
If the FDA certification is not enough proof that convection ovens and microwave ovens don’t cause cancer, you may want to hear what the experts from the Harvard Medical School have to say. In a recent publication, they disputed the fabled cause of cancer that comes from microwave and convection ovens.
The waves of energy emitted in microwaves are very selective; they target only water and molecules with opposite electric charges (positive and negative). These waves then cause said molecules to shake and create heat, which is released and used to cook or heat food.
Cooking times in convection ovens and microwaves are short, which is actually good for nutrients in food because they aren’t broken down. Microwave food can actually retain more minerals and vitamins which are beneficial to a healthy diet.
The mentioned Harvard article only gives praise to microwaves and there is not one mention of any negative consequences to human health, let alone cancer.
The reason why some people think that convection ovens cause cancer is that they mistake them for microwaves. Some microwaves have convection oven properties, which may be the cause of their confusion.
Convection ovens can be powered by gas or electricity and can either be standalone or part of a microwave. There is a heating element inside the oven that builds up heat and warms up the air within the oven.
Also, there is a fan which helps circulate the air around the oven and cook the food evenly from all sides. This adds to the cooking speed as well. Convection ovens are great for frying, baking, and roasting. The environment in these ovens is very dry, which makes the food crunchy and crusty.
There are many variations of microwaves and convection ones. You can disable the fan in some of them, which allows you to prepare different kinds of food. Microwaves with convection are definitely better for defrosting and heating up food, while convection ovens deliver better pastries and roasted meat.
If your main concern with convection ovens or convection microwaves is the risk of cancer, you can relax. There is no way of getting cancer if you take safety precautions. On the other hand, these ovens generate large amounts of heat and you shouldn’t stay too close to them while they are operating.
Of course, you should never put your hand inside a working oven. Use a protective cloth and gloves if you have to check on the food or open the oven for any other reason. Finally, always let the oven cool down first if you need to clean it afterward.