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Any food or health-related hazards from rust inside microwave?

By February 3, 2009 - 1:46pm
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We bought a relatively new home (2001), and for some reason, the built-in microwave has rust in the back corners.

Besides from sounding gross, I'm wondering if there is any possible health risks with heating food up in this microwave?

The food does not directly touch the rust, but I'm not sure exactly how microwaves work and if the rust can become airborne. Does anyone know? Also, I'm not sure what the cause of the rust is; I've never had a microwave do this before (so, possibly the cause of the rust may be more significant than the rust itself?)


Add a Comment21 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I like how after two pages of comments no one answered the original question If rust gets on her food If It becomes a health Issue..........

March 22, 2016 - 6:08pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

A microwave works by basically generating RF energy at microwave frequencies and directing those into the cooking chamber. The walls are all metal to reflect the microwave energy into whatever is cooking. The screen on the inside of the front door also reflects the microwaves (they're too big to fit through the holes in the screen), which allows a way to look inside while the oven is operating.

The plastic coating on the inside is basically for appearance (nice and clean white surface) and for ease of cleaning (it's easier to clean than bare metal). And, microwaves do not affect plastic. The frequency of the microwave energy is basically the resonant frequency of water molecules. So, the microwaves cause water molecules to vibrate, resulting in heating from the inside. That's why you can put something like a bowl of ice cream into a microwave and melt it, while the bowl stays cool (there's no molecules in the bowl itself that are excited by the microwave energy).

So, as long as the microwave works properly to heat whatever they put in it, the peeling plastic or rust shouldn't be an issue. It may look terrible and maybe there's a rusty smell from the exposed metal. But, it's not harming the food, nor is there any danger of the rust contaminating the food, as long as it doesn't flake off and fall into the food while it's cooking

May 17, 2016 - 8:26am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

The microwaves are too big to fit through the holes in the door? If you don't know what you are on about them be quiet. Note: the clue is in the title - MICROwaves.

August 30, 2016 - 12:25am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I ingested the rust that flakes off from microwave. Is it harmful ?

August 10, 2016 - 3:08am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

what about eating rust, is it harmful? The rust from the microwave got on my pizza. I didn't have my glasses on, so i didn't notice anything till I felt some crunchy stuff while i was eating it, i think it was the rust. I believe i swallowed some of it. Is it harmful, poison?

August 10, 2016 - 2:36am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

That must have been a lot of rust if you felt it on your pizza. You should call your doctor for advice and get a new microwave if possible.


August 10, 2016 - 5:54am
EmpowHER Guest

I got GE to give us a voucher to cover most of the cost of a new microwave because of rust on ours in the second year.

October 3, 2015 - 11:38am
EmpowHER Guest

My microwave developed rust after I used steam packets of veggies every night. I didn't think to air it out. It is probably cheaper to buy a new microwave.

October 30, 2014 - 4:35pm
EmpowHER Guest

how much rust is too much? mine is along the entire back of the chamber, along the distance of the turntable circle and some on the door frame.?

May 17, 2014 - 7:09am
EmpowHER Guest

is the rust airborne???? is it harmful to health if door of microwave has rust?f

March 18, 2013 - 8:12am
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