Appliances and Human Health: Can Your Own Home Harm You?

induction cooktop

When COVID-19 became a pandemic, we were all forbidden to gather inside a closed room, especially if there is air conditioning. The air in a closed space doesn’t circulate freely, so it easily spreads viruses. Does that mean air conditioners are unsafe? Not necessarily, which is good news.

In truth, all appliances can be unsafe for our health, but not because the appliances themselves are dangerous. Instead, they may have emissions that can be harmful to our health. However, there’s no strong research suggesting that they’ll make us ill, so don’t take this as a sign to remove all your appliances. By all means, they’re still necessary; we just have to ensure that they won’t pollute our indoor air.

Electric and Magnetic Fields (aka Radiation)

Electric and magnetic fields (EMF), aka radiation, are released by the sun. At the turn of the 20th century, scientists realized that the power lines supplying our energy (electricity) were also releasing EMFs. Hence, scientists learned that the appliances using electricity were giving off the same thing. It raised concerns regarding its health effects, but fortunately, most scientists don’t believe that EMFs are harmful.

It can be hard to believe that anything involving radiation is safe, so let’s take a look at the types of EMF exposure to understand why we shouldn’t worry.

Two Types of EMF Exposure

  • Low-level radiation (non-ionizing radiation). This type of EMF exposure is considered harmless to people. Microwave ovens, Wi-Fi routers, power lines, and cell phones are some examples of appliances and electronics that send out low-level radiation.
  • High-level radiation (ionizing radiation). This is sent out in the form of ultraviolet (UV) rays, but household appliances don’t emit this.

World Health Organization states that EMFs are possibly carcinogenic to humans, but the risk doesn’t come from appliances. Rather, it’s from our cell phones. Researchers found a loose connection between the highest EMF exposure and glioma, a type of cancer that affects the brain and spinal cord. Gliomas were found to be more common on the side of the head people use when speaking on their cell phones. But there is no strong evidence proving that cell-phone use caused the glioma.

To prevent health risks, most reputable appliance brands test their products to ensure that EMFs are within safe levels. Meanwhile, public utilities and governments ensure that power lines, cell towers, and other EMF sources are not causing danger.

How to Make Your Appliances Safer for Your Health

water filter

Even if EMF exposure is considered harmless, it won’t hurt to minimize its levels in your home. Below are some tips to make your appliances safer for your health:

  1. Use an induction cooktop instead of a gas stove. Gas stoves don’t release EMF but might raise indoor nitrogen-oxygen levels. This can be dangerous if you or your kid has asthma. Switch to an induction cooktop instead. It doesn’t emit any chemicals, not to mention easier to clean.
  2. Ventilate your kitchen. When you use your oven in high temperatures or use its self-cleaning function, it can release harmful fumes into the air. Turn your range hood on or open a window to release them outside, and turn on a ceiling fan when you use your oven again.
  3. Install a water filter. Though tap water is safe for cleaning, it may contain contaminants that make them unsafe for drinking. Install a water filter to get rid of these contaminants and avoid risking your gastrointestinal health.
  4. Avoid putting plastic containers in the microwave. Even if they’re labeled microwave safe, some plastic containers may still warp in the microwave and release toxins. Transfer the contents to a china dinnerware before popping it into the microwave.
  5. Clean your fridge. Spills and other kinds of food residue may spoil your good food and make bacteria develop in your fridge in turn. Regularly chuck out expired food items as well.
  6. Have your AC installed by experts. Professional air conditioner installation offers you a safer experience because the experts don’t just pop in your unit but also provide site surveying, determine the right positioning, and ensure that your space will remain clean. Maintain your unit regularly afterward. Clogged air filters will circulate unhealthy air in your space.
  7. Sanitize your disposal. If you grind your food waste in a garbage disposal, bacteria may be lurking in its deep depths. At least once a month, scrub the inside of the machine, and let the cleanser sit there until your next grind.

The bottom line is that appliances will only be dangerous to our health if we don’t properly maintain them. So stay on track with your appliance maintenance, and enjoy a healthy and safe abode.

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