Induction and health issues

jane__nySeptember 16, 2012

Does anyone know if induction cooking could affect someone with a pacemaker? What about other metal parts, such as stents or hip/knee replacements?

This sounds so weird, but I know certain people cannot have MRI's because of metal parts, just wondering if induction could cause problems.


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Don't lie face down on an induction hob while its on, with a pacemaker. Short of that, I think you'll be OK.

The magnetic fields are concentrated just above the cooktop surface; that's where the pan is. They don't extend far enough to bother metal implants in people standing around.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 4:01AM
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The site linked below has a lot of good explanations about induction cooking, and has been linked here before (which is how I found it). I think you will find answers there.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 8:03AM
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I was told that induction and pacemaker are a no-no.. I would not risk it if the person with pacemaker lives in the same house.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 9:04AM
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The best approach would be to obtain from the candidate induction cook-top manufacturer the frequency used and the field strength at various distances, then submit that information to the pacemaker manufacturer for evaluation of safe distance. Such information should be published by both manufacturers for safety analysis but may not be.

Note that the field will not propagate far with a suitable pan on the hob because the field lines will be pulled into the steel. Without a suitable pan on the hob, the hob sensor will keep the field off. However, transient cases when a hob is operating and the pan is pulled off and there is a delay in hob shutdown need to be evaluated (if they haven't been already).


    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 10:39AM
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I have a pacemaker - I am 100% dependent on it. I have spent 6 weeks in a rental with an induction hob and felt absolutely no effect - and I'm famous at my doctor's office for feeling every slight change in my pulse rate.
This question comes up periodically at the pacemaker forum ( I use, and many people have induction cooktops: all make the same point: you won't feel anything unless you lie on top of it. And if you did, and felt some alteration, you simply move away and everything returns to normal.

Many appliance showrooms have induction cooktops in their display, connected to the power: I would strongly advise the pacemaker user to go and play with one for real, to reassure themselves.

Hope this helps, but I also recommend doing a search at the website for induction so you can read the discussions.
Good luck with your choices.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 2:37PM
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Without meaning to be harsh, this topic seems to come up every six or seven weeks.

It has been discussed often enough that my initial reaction was to make fun of the uncertainty. (Did you hear about the man who was electrocuted through his hearing aids because he got an electromagnetic pulse when he rang an electric doorbell?)

It seems to me, however, that we are often talking about perceived risk of the possibility of harm rather than the actual risk. Different people will have different reactions to risk and different comfort levels for it.

We can start with people with pacemakers being generally cautioned about putting themselves in very strong magnetic fields. Obviously, this means you should not pick-up a subwoofer speaker and hold it against your chest/pacemaker implant while somebody is playing a bass solo. But going beyond that leads off into uncertainties where it is impossible to prove something is truly and indisuptably safe.

It is all well and good for kaseki to point out (correctly, in my opinion) that the field from an induction stove does not propagate very far. I, too, have made cracks like Chac_mool's comment about needing to lie on an induction burner to disrupt a pacemaker. Although to be nigglingly technical, pacemakers are too small for an induction burner to activate. So just lying on the stove would not produce an effect. You would have to be lying on a hot pan. ;>) Either that or else be a very short person with a unipolar pacemaker implant and leaning your chest against the front of the stove while there is a hot pan immediately in front of you.

For some people, however, cooking on induction burners sounds no different than heating your food on a pile of nuclear waste.

The fact that most of us think such concerns are trivial and misdirected does nothing to reassure the uncertain nor anything to diminish the propagation of caution. We live in a culture of warnings and caution, where the writers of consumer guides find themselves saying things like: "Well, gee, it might be possible that something could go wrong so maybe we better say people should talk to their doctors before even hinting that they might want to do .... whatever.")

And that brings me to the studies collected and referenced at the Induction Site. For the benefit of the OP, these were peer-reviewed studies by reputable scientists. (We aren't talking the kind of voodoo-witchcraft-paranoia that seems to propagate to "fact" because somebody put it out on the web. The web "facts" are the kind of thing that says something like "we made this rat explode when we tried to stuff it with a watermelon; therefore watermelons will make you explode if you ingest one and therefore must be banned as a health hazard.")

What I think you will learn when you check out the Induction Site is that the studies say this:
(a) IF you have a unipolar pacemaker (a rare type of implant)
(b) AND IF you have it within 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 inches) of the induction burner;
(c) There may be a detectible electrical field that is probably not strong enough to cause malfunctions but might be enough to to be concerned about the possibility an irregularity for somebody with that uncommon type of implant.

That may or may not be reassuring. Some people will say that there is too much EMR floating around already and nobody has proved conclusively that any of it is safe enough for them.

Other folks will say that the risks are much smaller from induction cooking than, say, from getting the regular MRIs or CAT scans you will get because of the medical conditions that led to your getting a pacemaker in th first place. And, by the way, you'd better stay away from audio systems, televisions and computer monitors with CRT displays, cell phones, hearing aids, and much of the rest of modern devices which all seem to generate detectible fields.

For folks with a systemic worry about EMR in the environment, the risk of an induction appliance may be more than they are comfortable assuming.

It seems to me that virtually everything about modern life poses some prospect of some risk of something bad happening. It may be a large risk or not, but what really matters is what the risk means for you. Some people have very low tolerance for some kinds of risks. For instance, an average of 1300 dishwashers catch fire every year in the U.S., and most of those fires are contained within the dishwahser itself (e.g., a circuit board flames out.) Most of us look at that number and say something like: "Well there must be 80 million dishwashers installed in homes in this country so the risk of fire looks trivial to me and I'm not going to worry about it." Other people will look at those numbers and say: "1300 fires! That is outrageously unsafe. Dishwashers should be banned and I will never have one in my house ever again."

If you are one of the people for whom the risk looks frightening, there is nothing the rest of us can say that will assuage that.

So, follow up on checking out the info from the Induction Site. If the risk still seems scary to you, then you should stay away from induction burners and ranges.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 3:58PM
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I forgot to include a response to the OP's question about stents and replacement hip and knee joints etc.

Most of those things are not magnetic metal.

Induction burners must sense a certain size and mass of magnetic metal before they come on. Most smaller induction burners need something at least 5 inches in diameter to come on and heat what is one them. Bigger burners reuqire larger diameter pans. (For instance, the Samsung 11 inch induction burner requires a minimum pan size of 7.5 inches and I'm told their 12-inch burner requires at least a 9 inch pan.) Spoons, wristwatches, etc. will not get heated by an induction burner unless you put them on the burner with a pan. So, even if your hip replacement was magnetic metal, and you accidentially left a burner on, and decided to sit on the ceramic glass stovetop, you would not heat your hip replacement.

Bear in mind Kaeski's point about the limited propogation of the induction field. Raise the pan more than an inch or so above the burner, it moves outside the effective range if the field (and the burner shuts off.) So no risks there.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 4:15PM
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Note also that risks are relative. The "health issues" associated with, say, cooking with gas, may be worse than whatever risks might be associated with induction fields.

Forgetting to turn off a gas burner is more likely to start a house fire than forgetting to turn off an induction hob.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Well said.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 5:31PM
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When my cousin got a pacemaker, the literature provided warned against using induction cookers. Maybe it was just some CYA on behalf of the manufacturer, but do you believe the makers and installers of such products, or the opinions of strangers on internet bulletin boards??? FWIW, my cousin definitely could feel her unit reacting when she got within a metre or so of DH's electrostatic speakers - no need to hug them to her body.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 9:28PM
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>>>"but do you believe the makers and installers of such products, or the opinions of strangers on internet bulletin boards??? "This would be a good point if we had not referred the OP to the Induction Site from which she can link to the actual scientific studies. You can also google these studies, as well. So this is not just the kind of opinion and internet blather that is being criticized (and which I also criticized, I might add.)

Beyond that, your DH's electrostatic speakers do not seem comparable to magnetic induction stoves and actually seem to be the sorts of things that should be avoided by persons with pacemaker implants. Please do not take this as flaming (it can be hard to decipher tone when you only get to see this in print.) Your DH's speakers -- Martin Logans, maybe? --- work by projecting a field that goes out a lot further than with a stove because they work differently than a stove does. I'm not surprised that your cousin could sense the field on the ES speakers. A friend of mine (an accomplished professional violinist) says he can feel the field from ES speakers and avoids standing near them. He does not have a pacemaker. He also says he is perfectly fine using his induction hot plate. Sara-the-Brit's post is another example of not feeling stray e-m from an induction cooker. (Basically, an induction cooker won't work well if it produces stray fields.)

Ultimately, we get back to perceived risk. If your doctor says you must avoid cooking on induction stoves, then maybe you ask why they say that or maybe you just skip the hassle and get on with your life. Chances are that whoever gives you the warning --- manufacturer, physician, supplier --- has no idea about scientific back-up and is simply trying to be prudent in the face of uncertainty about how much is actually known.

If you have a pacemaker and really want an induction stove, then Kaseki's advice is good: contact your doctor and the manufacturer and find out what they really know. They might just say, hunh? Or, they might tell you that residential induction cookers are fine but stay away from commercial units. Ot they may tell you that that anything with a electro-magnetic field can be bad but that there are too many devices for them to test to know which ones are and are not bad, so they just tell everybody to avoid magnetic fields, period.

So far, the published, peer-reviewed studies on induction cookers say that you have to get pretty close to induction to have even the potential for interference. Anybody who wants to argue about that should go read the studies and make up their own minds.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 11:51PM
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'Or they may tell you that that anything with a electro-magnetic field can be bad but that there are too many devices for them to test to know which ones are and are not bad, so they just tell everybody to avoid magnetic fields, period.'

This might be the answer given by a doctor and/or manufacturer if they are not 110% sure.
Because we live in a highly litigious society, "CYA" is first and foremost in everyone's mind. Anyone can file a lawsuit, should anything happen to the cook-top owner, even if it has nothing to do with the cook-top. Defense lawyers are expensive - even for the innocent. When in doubt, there are other options for cooking, and the docs & mfrs know that.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 8:13AM
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While heating directly on nuclear waste might be impractical, size- and weight-wise, a useful appliance would be a properly glassified and shielded nuclear waste assembly with a heat exchanger. Buried in the yard and connected to an in-house heat exchanger, it could save a lot of oil as a heat supply and provide employment for legions of litigators into the mists of time.


    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 12:03PM
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Good one, Kas!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 12:37PM
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Since Microwaves and cordless phones put out a much larger magnetic field than an induction cooktop the poster may want to be more afraid of those. After all your more likely to put a cordless phone against your chest or stand too close to a microwave than you are to be laying down on an induction cooktop.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 5:03PM
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Interesting that you should say that because a lot of physicians and manufacturers will say that it is fine for persons with pacemakers to use a microwave oven and that it is only fields like those in an MRI, induction furnaces in steel mills, crane mounted magnets in car wrecking yards, power plant generators, etc. that must be avoided.

Most pacemaker manufacturers seem to think that both microwave ovens and pacemakers are well shielded enough that using a microwave oven is not a problem.


However, this is what appears on the the National Institute of Health website,

Once you have a pacemaker, you have to avoid close or prolonged contact with electrical devices or devices that have strong magnetic fields. Devices that can interfere with a pacemaker include:

Cell phones and MP3 players (for example, iPods)
Household appliances, such as microwave ovens
High-tension wires
Metal detectors
Industrial welders
Electrical generators

These devices can disrupt the electrical signaling of your pacemaker and stop it from working properly. You may not be able to tell whether your pacemaker has been affected.

How likely a device is to disrupt your pacemaker depends on how long you're exposed to it and how close it is to your pacemaker.

To be safe, some experts recommend not putting your cell phone or MP3 player in a shirt pocket over your pacemaker (if the devices are turned on).

You may want to hold your cell phone up to the ear that's opposite the site where your pacemaker is implanted. If you strap your MP3 player to your arm while listening to it, put it on the arm that's farther from your pacemaker.

You can still use household appliances, but avoid close and prolonged exposure, as it may interfere with your pacemaker.

You can walk through security system metal detectors at your normal pace. Security staff can check you with a metal detector wand as long as it isn't held for too long over your pacemaker site. You should avoid sitting or standing close to a security system metal detector. Notify security staff if you have a pacemaker.

Also, stay at least 2 feet away from industrial welders and electrical generators.

Some medical procedures can disrupt your pacemaker. These procedures include:

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI
Shock-wave lithotripsy to get rid of kidney stones
Electrocauterization to stop bleeding during surgery

Let all of your doctors, dentists, and medical technicians know that you have a pacemaker. Your doctor can give you a card that states what kind of pacemaker you have. Carry this card in your wallet. You may want to wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace that states that you have a pacemaker.

This is what the NIH says about induction stoves at

Patients are at risk if the implant is unipolar and left-sided, if they stand as close as possible to the induction cooktop, and if the pot is not concentric with the induction coil. Unipolar pacing systems can sense interference generated by leakage currents if the patient touches the pot for a long period of time. The most likely response to interference is switching to an asynchronous interference mode. Patients with unipolar pacemakers are at risk only if they are not pacemaker-dependent.

and this at

Actual pacemakers do not present any electromagnetic interference with 50 Hz and 60 Hz or induction cooktop frequency working. They are insensitive with medically correct settings. Unusual high sensitivity leads only to noise reversion mode, or transient ventricular tracking.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 6:41PM
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Based on my personal experience, and the observations of "strangers on an internet forum" - i.e. the pacemaker forum people, who, over the years I've had a PM are not in fact strangers - we pacemaker users are warned of all sorts of things that do not in reality cause us any problems. We all work on the basis that if something causes interference (it won't STOP the pacemaker, just put it into a default rhythm) you simply move away from it and all returns to normal. This is why I suggested the OP get her pacemaker person to try out induction in a showroom if they are keen on induction.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 12:46PM
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