An induction cooktop produces high amounts of EMF radiation, which can be dangerous for your health, say, experts.
People often see induction stoves as a better way to cook. One, you don’t have to clean the coils like a traditional stove, and two, they can cook food up to 50% faster. But even though they make your cooking a lot more convenient, the level of EMF they produce makes them a not-so-great addition to your kitchen.
Experts say prolonged exposure to EMF from induction stoves can adversely affect your physical and mental health. How?
Well, that’s what we’ll discuss in this post. We’ll look at induction cooktops, their health risks, and, most importantly, what you can do about them. So, let’s begin.
Table of Contents
What is an Induction Cooktop?
Before jumping into the biological effects of induction cooktops, let’s take a moment to understand what an induction cooktop is in the first place.
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Induction cooktops have been gaining massive popularity, especially since their prices started to decline after 2010.
At first glance, they look like any standard glass-top electric cooktops. But unlike electric, these cooktops use electromagnetic energy (similar to microwave ovens) to heat your cookware.
Induction cooktops initially gained popularity in professional kitchens. With time, they became more common in our own homes, simply because they cook faster and use less energy.
A pot of water can reach boiling point in approximately half the time on an induction cooktop when compared to a regular gas stove.
How do Induction Cooktops Work?
Underneath each cooking surface is an induction coil that produces alternating current flows (between 20 and 100 kHz).
This creates a magnetic field with a circular current known as induction. This magnetic field is a type of electromagnetic radiation or EMF.
When you place a pan onto the induction ring, it becomes part of the electromagnetic circuit. And this is the reason only certain types of pans—namely those made of cast iron, stainless steel, or layered stainless steel—can be used effectively on induction stoves.
The result of the right cookware placed on an induction cooking surface is that the pan heats very quickly.
If you’d like to learn more about how induction cooktops work, here’s a short and helpful explainer video:
Are Induction Cooktops Safe?
Well, as a starting point, induction cooktops emit measurable levels of EMF radiation. Radiation that would not be in your environment without the induction stove.
And each additional amount of EMF you are exposed to increases your risk of developing numerous negative health effects.
So, no. They’re definitely not “safe.”
When it comes to the EMF risks of induction cooking surfaces, there are two considerations.
The Amount of EMF In Your Immediate Environment
Since induction cooking surfaces emit EMF, they pump this radiation into your kitchen. Any electrical heater creates high levels of EMF radiation—that’s how they work. Induction cooktops are no exception.
This leads to a massive increase in the EMF pollution in homes, which can cause a wide range of health problems for the residents. Visit my “EMF Health Effects” page to learn more about how EMF affects your physical and mental health.
Besides the increased EMF pollution in your immediate environment, there’s another problem with induction cooktops. If you’re familiar with the electromagnetism branch of physics, you know that the power of EMF is strongest at its source, and it weakens as it moves further from the source.
Now, since creating a distance from these cooktops is virtually impossible because you have to cook on them, your body gets exposed to very high levels of EMF radiation.
But it doesn’t end there.
When You Touch the Cookware
As I mentioned above, induction stoves heat your metal cookware by making it part of their electromagnetic circuit.
Now, the human body is also a good conductor of EMF radiation. So, when you touch the cookware (which you have to do many times during your cooking session), your body also becomes a part of this circuit.
The nature of EMF is that it needs to continue moving, except in cases where it gets absorbed (like how our SYB HARD works). In the case of electricity, it comes from the source and goes back to the source to repeat the same process (see my “Grounding Myths” post for an in-depth explanation).
And since EMF is a product of electricity, it behaves similarly to electricity when moving. So, as you touch the cookware on the induction cooktop, the EMF will flow through your body, taking any and all paths available to keep moving.
And though EMF won’t electrocute you as contact current does, you’d still be subjected to the ton of potential health effects that tag along with it.
They Exceed the ICNIRP Exposure Limits
The ICNIRP, or International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, is an organization that sets all the guidelines on the levels of EMF that electronic devices and electrical appliances can generate. Though many experts disagree with the ICNIRP guidelines, we have to appreciate the fact EMF is at least regulated.
But some studies say that the EMF emissions from some induction cooktops don’t even fall within the ICNIRP guidelines.
As just one of many examples, a research group from Switzerland says that “most induction hobs (rings) exceeded even the high 1998 maximum exposure levels set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) when a person was standing close to the induction stove.”
For this experiment, they analyzed the EMF emissions from 13 professional induction cooktops. They found that in most cases, the emission levels only matched the ICNIRP limits when the individual working on the device was at least 1 foot (30 cm) away from the appliance. And since it’s a cooking device, it’s virtually impossible to maintain a 1-foot distance.
Confirming this, Powerwatch UK also said, “When cooking with a magnetic induction hob, the whole body is highly exposed to EMFs, and hands and arms’ exposure exceeds the normal ICNIRP (not very precautionary) levels, which are set high and only protect against gross acute (immediate) effects. Induction hobs operating at 20 kHz can generate field levels 3 times higher than ICNIRP levels.”
So, What Can You Do?
The best way you can protect yourself from induction stoves’ EMF emissions and the associated health concerns is to avoid having an induction stove at all.
But obviously, you can’t quit cooking, right? So, here’s what you can use instead.
Gas and Propane Stoves
Unquestionably, gas and propane stoves are the best alternatives to induction cooktops. They don’t emit EMF, which makes them completely safe to use when it comes to EMF-induced health risks.
However, there are gas ranges in the market that are WiFi enabled. These allow you to do things like change settings from your phone, receive push alerts, monitor the health of the appliance, and operate it via smart remote control.
These kinds of “smart” appliances emit significant amounts of EMF. So, when buying gas stoves, keep an eye out for WiFi features.
What if you already have a smart gas range? Well, you can call a technician to remove the RF antenna from the motherboard. This will stop the wireless functionality and give you a normal, non-EMF-emitting gas range.
Besides EMF, some people are also chemically sensitive. So, gas and propane stoves might not be the perfect choice for them.
If that’s the case for you, choose an infrared cooktop.
Most modern hotplates and ceramic topped stoves are designed to use infrared technology.
I’ve written a separate in-depth post on why infrared is a safer alternative to other EMF types, so give it a read.
Besides that, infrared cooktops use less energy, they’re fast, and you don’t need specific cookware to activate them.
If you’re looking to install a new cooking method and don’t want to use gas or propane, infrared cooktops could be the best alternative for you.
But what if you already own an induction stove?
What if You Already Own an Induction Stove?
Now, you may be concerned about the EMF health risks from an induction stove but have little or no choice about it because you have already purchased an induction stove. Or maybe your home came with one.
In this case, it’s financially impractical to replace your appliance. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do.
There are ways to use induction cooktops more safely, some of which you can find in the recommendations from the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health about induction hobs:
- 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 (as they are further away from your body);
- Use only cookware that is labeled by the manufacturer as suitable for induction cooking;
- Stand as far away from the cooking surface as possible when in use;
- 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.
Besides these, there are some other things you can do to limit your EMF exposure from your induction cooktop while using it. Have a look.
Maximize Distance When You Can
Though you have to be close to the appliance to cook your food, you don’t have to be close to it throughout your cooking session.
The power of EMF weakens as it travels further from the source. So, if you’re standing even two feet away from the appliance, the EMF your body receives will be much weaker than what it was at the source.
So, create a distance with your induction cooktop whenever you can.
Use EMF Shielding Products
Besides adding distance between your body and the induction cooktop, you can also use EMF shielding products (like the ones my company SYB makes and sells) to enhance your EMF protection.
Here are some of the products I recommend.
SYB Boxer Briefs
(Note that this doesn’t mean women are completely safe. Read my post “EMF Radiation Health Dangers for Women” for more information.)
So, to protect your reproductive organs, you can get the SYB Boxer Briefs. They’re made from 42% silver, with 53% cotton and 5% nylon, making them a comfortable yet powerful EMF protection shield.
SYB Bandana & SYB Neck Gaiter
Besides your reproductive organs, your brain and neck are also highly susceptible to EMF-induced health problems. You can protect these body parts by using the SYB Bandana and/or the SYB Neck Gaiter.
Visit the SYB store to learn more about how these products work and how to use them.
Remove Background EMF
Induction cooktops are one source of your EMF exposure. If you look around, you’ll see many electronic devices and electrical appliances, exposing you to similar kinds of radiation.
So besides reducing your EMF exposure from your induction cooktop, I also recommend turning off all the unnecessary EMF sources running in the background.
This will significantly reduce the EMF pollution in your home, further reducing your risk of developing EMF-induced health problems.
Keep Your Children Away From the Appliance While It’s Running
Children are more vulnerable to EMF’s biological effects than adults (here’s why). So, make sure that your children aren’t near the induction cooktop when it’s running.
This also applies if you’re pregnant. The fetus is even more susceptible to health effects that result from prolonged EMF exposure. Research has found that pregnant women exposed to high levels of EMF have an almost three times greater risk of miscarriage.
If you’re pregnant, I’d recommend you don’t go near the induction stove when it’s running. However, if you absolutely have to, you can wrap the SYB Baby Blanket around your belly, which will create a powerful EMF shield, deflecting any EMF radiation coming towards your stomach.
And finally, if you wear a pacemaker, I strongly advise against going near an induction cooktop when it’s running. That’s because the EMF can interfere with your pacemaker, causing it to malfunction or stop working entirely.
Read my post “Pacemakers & EMF” for more information.
Though EMF is dangerous, be it from your induction cooktop, microwave oven, cell phone, laptop, or WiFi router, EMF’s biological effect is only one part of how modern technology affects the general population.
Experts say that prolonged tech use affects you physically, mentally, psychologically, and emotionally.
So, what’s the solution? It’s not like we can quit technology for good and expect our lives to be the same.
The answer, though, isn’t as complicated as you may think. You have to simply build a healthier relationship with technology, so you can benefit from modern tech without being subjected to the health effects that tag along.
Learn how on “The Healthier Tech Podcast,” where experts from different industries talk about how to make modern technology safer and healthier for you and your loved ones.