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Does standing before microwave oven cause cancer?

Claim: Standing in front of a microwave causes cancer. 

Verdict: FALSE! Microwaves are generally safe, and standing before them does not cause cancer. The advice is not to stand in front or against them when in use because of burns/injuries. 

Full Text 

The term cancer describes many diseases. Cancer occurs when specific cells grow out of control and spread through the body. Damage to the genetic material, including  DNA, can lead to the development of cancer cells and high-energy radiation, such as X-rays. 

These diseases all have links to atypical changes in the genes that control cell function, which can pass through genetics by parents. 

Other causes of cancer may be infections such as human papillomavirus, exposure to certain chemicals, UV radiation or X-rays and smoking tobacco. 

A Facebook page, Healthtracker, shared a TikTok video with the caption: “Standing in front of the microwave will cause cancer” and this stirred the curiosity of some of our followers, who sent the video to us for verification. 

Seeing a microwave as a vital kitchen gadget in many homes and offices and how this can affect our health, DUBAWA decided to verify it. 

Microwaves and Radiation 

Radiation is an invisible energy comprising electric and magnetic fields known as Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that contain electric and magnetic power. 

Microwaves are a form of lower power EMFs called radiofrequency (RF) with waves that produce non-ionising radiation, which does not have enough energy to damage cells directly.  These EMFs can also be found in the sky, on Earth, Wi-Fi, and radio signals.

While other commonly used devices like radar guns, telephones and television sets use microwaves to transmit signals, it’s interesting to see only microwave ovens are associated with cancer-causing microwaves. 

However, the microwaves within the oven machines make water molecules vibrate inside different foods, creating heat that warms up food.

Is it safe to stand in front of a microwave? 

The microwaves in ovens do not contaminate food with radiation, and government guidelines require manufacturers to create them according to specific criteria to ensure they are safe. 

Every microwave oven must have safety features that contain all electromagnetic radiation within the device and shielding that keeps radiation from leaking. 

With these manufacturing requirements and safety measures in place, microwave ovens are safe for general use because although they contain radiation, it stay within the devices. 

This makes it unlikely to get cancer from using unless it is damaged, which can lead to impaired radiation shielding, making them unsafe for use.

It is also important to note that although microwave ovens are not typically harmful, government agencies advise against standing directly in front of or against them during use. This is because injuries from high amounts of microwave radiation, like painful burns and cataracts, are possible.

So, keeping a distance from the device prevents exposure to radiation if a microwave oven is damaged or malfunctioning.

Click here to read about more safety tips by the FDA on using microwave ovens. 


Microwaves are generally safe, and standing before them does not cause cancer. The only reason it is advised not to stand in front or against them when in use is because of burns/injuries. 

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