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Air fryers seek to deliver the decadent taste of fried food without all the grease and fat. Indeed, these kitchen devices almost seem too good to be true, a fact that has no doubt fueled their rising popularity. And while air fryers have many benefits, it is important to keep in mind their drawbacks, as well. One issue that has sparked some concern over air fryers is radiation.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at how air fryers work, and what kind of radiation they generate, if any.
How air fryers work
In a standard deep fryer, food is submerged in piping hot oil, causing it to crisp up and develop that characteristic fried exterior. The oil, although it is the driving force behind the frying, also imparts a great deal of grease on the final product.
In an air fryer, hot air is first produced by an electric heating element. A fan then circulates the hot air throughout a chamber where food is placed and temperatures can exceed 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The food is coated in oil, but not submerged in it. In fact, it’s very important not to put oil in the air fryer itself — doing so could start a fire.
As the food is exposed to high temperatures, it crisps up in a very similar manner to food in a traditional deep fryer. Both use something called the Maillard Effect, which is a chemical reaction that causes food to brown and develop a fried taste.
Do air fryers produce radiation?
After learning how they work, we can see that air fryers do not produce radiation in the same way that, say, a microwave does. But does that mean they’re radiation-free?
On the non-ionizing side of the electromagnetic spectrum, there are a few different types of radiation. Microwave is one of them. Radiofrequency, infrared, and extremely low frequency are a few others. Air fryers do not produce microwave radiation, but they are still electronic devices. Electricity results in ELF-EMF radiation. To learn more, see EMF Radiation: Everything You Need To Know.
Now, the amount of ELF-EMF radiation produced will likely vary from model to model. That being said, however, most air fryers are going to generate an electric and magnetic field. To see an example of this, check out the following video.
As you can see, while small amounts of RF-EMF radiation were present, the real problem was the electric and magnetic fields produced by the device as it was heating up. That being said, this was one specific make and model of fryer. Other air fryers would yield different results. Take, for example, WiFi-enabled “smart” air fryers. These devices will produce more RF-EMF radiation, simply because of the WiFi signal.
Tips for using your air fryer safely
If you still want to take advantage of the health benefits of an air fryer but are concerned about radiation, don’t worry. There are things you can do to operate your device safely.
- Stand back while the air fryer is in use. As you saw in the video, levels shot up exponentially the closer the meter was held to the fryer. Standing just six feet back eliminated most of the exposure. When you turn your fryer on, try and be mindful of the distance between you and the device, just as you would with a microwave.
- Unplug the fryer when not in use. If you aren’t using the air fryer, leaving it plugged in draws electricity. That can add up on your electric bill, and also in your household’s cumulative EMF level. Unplugging your deep fryer — or any electronic device — when it’s not in use is a good practice to have.
- Opt-out of smart fryers. Controlling your air fryer with an app on your phone may sound super appealing, but that WiFi signal comes at a price. The levels of ELF-EMF radiation produced by an air fryer are bad enough — you don’t need to increase the RF-EMF levels, as well. If at all possible, avoid WiFi-enabled smart fryers. Models such as Dreo’s 9-in-1 Digital Airfryer are feature-rich without an internet connection.
- Test your levels. One step that is worth taking is to measure the amount of EMF radiation generated by your particular air fryer. You can do this using the same technique that was used in the video. Take your EMF meter and stand at various distances away from the air fryer, taking readings. This will help you learn how far back you need to stand in order to be a safe distance away.
If you have an air fryer or are interested in buying one, you should be aware that these devices produce EMF radiation. That being said, there are ways to ensure their safe usage and to minimize your overall exposure.