A viral message claiming that the microwave industry is finished as Japan has ordered to ban all microwave ovens by the end of the year as they cause cancer is false. Neither has the Japanese government banned microwaves, nor is there any substantial evidence suggesting that microwaves emit cancer-causing radiation.
While this post specifies that the ban will be effective by the end of this year, it has been in circulation since many years. The post which falsely claims that professors and researchers at University of Hiroshima found that "radio waves" from microwaves cause great harm, also compared this heat to the disaster of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb attacks in 1945.
BOOM found that this claim actually originated from a Russian parody site but was picked up by social media users.
The post also claims that a conference held at Kashira Cancer Center recommended that microwaved food should be avoided. A simple Google search did not yield any results for Kashira Cancer Center. Even the World Health Organisation has clarified that there is no truth in the claim that microwaved food could lead to cancer.
BOOM received the message on its WhatsApp helpline number with a request to verify the veracity of the message.
The claim is also viral on Facebook.
BOOM found that this message originated on a Russian satire website called IA Panorama. The website in question has a disclaimer at the end of each story that announces that their articles are mostly parody and not to be considered as true.
When translated, this message reads- "All texts on this site are grotesque parodies of reality and are not real news . "
BOOM also looked for the mention of bans on Japan government's official website but found no mention of the same.
In an archived version of its information sheet, the WHO has shared that microwave ovens are safe to use and do not cause cancer. The sheet reads, "The design of microwave ovens ensures that the microwaves are contained within the oven and can only be present when the oven is switched on and the door is shut. Leakage around and through the glass door is limited by design to a level well below that recommended by international standards. However, microwave leakage could still occur around damaged, dirty or modified microwave ovens. It is therefore important that the oven is maintained in good condition."
The WHO has also clarified that the food stored in the containers does not become radioactive. It compares its functioning to a light bulb.
Similarly, the American Society of Clinical Oncology has also debunked this false claim. It says, "Radiation stays inside the microwave as long as the doors are closed. In fact, microwaves are built to only work when the doors are closed. Plus, to ensure the safety of microwaves, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates microwaves. It makes rules or safety standards that microwave manufacturers must follow. For example, each microwave must have at least 2 separate safety locks to stop it from working if the door opens."
The message further states that a conference held at the Kashira Cancer Center recommended other ways to keep one safe from cancer and included staying away from microwave ovens as one of them. BOOM could neither find any news on any such cancer prevention conference not could we find any Kashira Cancer Center.
This is not the first message recommending the use or ban of food items or appliances for cancer prevention and therapy. BOOM has in the past debunked claims stating hot lemon water kills cancer cells, black garlic reduces the growth of cancer cells, three Nobel Laureates claiming that cancer can be cured without medicine, and hot coconut water killing cancer cells.
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