with metal implant in hand?

hokie98November 30, 2013

Odd question, I know. I'm in the market for a new range to replace our gas (LP) range. Induction has peaked my interest since we already have the appropriate electrical connection. I've read all about potential dangers (or not) of using induction with pacemakers. This is probably a dumb question, and I am going to ask my doctor, but some of you probably know more about induction than my doctor! I have a metal plate & 4 screws in my right hand from where I broke the bone leading to my ring finger. It's been there for 15+ years, and was inserted while I was in college. I have no idea what sort of metal composes the plate. I've read online that metal plates could be made of several types of metals - stainless steel, titanium, etc. The plate is only about 1 - 1-1/4" long, and it's never set off an airport metal detector (for what that's worth). I've never been in any other situation to be concerned about metal in my hand (no MRI, etc).

From what I've read about induction, even if it was a ferrous metal, it's not likely ENOUGH metal to cause a problem. Would that be correct? If it did cause a "problem"...what would that mean - heating of my metal plate? I'm right handed, so that's the hand I'd be using to touch the pots & pans, stir, etc. If it were my left hand, I'd have very little to no worry about it. I seldom use metal spoon while cooking (I much prefer my wooden spoons), but I would imagine if there was any problem it would be while I was touching a pot/pan and/or using a metal spoon. Obviously, I'm not a scientist, but any opinions?

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Ok, you win "Most interesting question on the forum" There must be somebody on here who is TKO and a orthapedist!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 9:24PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Neither medical grade stainless nor titanium are magnetic. If it's vanadium, it depends on which alloy it might be. You're probably OK, but as with all things, it's always best to check with your doctor about the specifics.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 10:47PM
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Hollysprings suggestion of consulting a doctor made me snort because a doctor in my town just called me to ask me questions about induction ranges. Basically, most doctors barely have time to keep up with medical knowledge let alone time to learn enough about kitchen appliances like induction ranges and cooktops. :>)

But, basically, hokie98, your instincts are correct that there really is not a problem and hollysprings was otherwise dead-on correct.

Adding to what hollysprings just said, internet "authority" has identified two problems which are the stuff of urban legend.

Legend (A) is that putting your hand down on an induction cooktop/stove will fry your hand if you are wearing a wrist watch, bracelet or ring and a burner is active. (Yeah and did you hear how frequently people detontate toy poodles while trying to dry them out after a bath by putting them in microwaves?)

Really, even if the hardware in the hand were a magnetic metal, it does not have enough mass to activate an induction burner as you noted. So, you aren't going to cook your hand by putting your hand down on an induction burner. And, by the way, I've never had a problem holding the handle of a cast iron pan while wearing a wristwatch or holding a metal fork or sppon while cooking on induction. Now, if I were to put my hand right down on the surface of a pan on an induction burner, I could get burned, but that would be because the pan is hot not because of hardware in or on my hand.

Problem (B) is that, "OMG, any metal tool will either immediately burn anybody who uses it with pans on induction burners. Somebody recently --- I think it may have been the living large website --- said this was was a misdirected concern because the danger is actually that metal utensils in the induction field will electrocute you, Hooey, of course.

And, FWIW, here's some anecdotal evidence. I have a steel pancake turner that actually will hold a magnet and therefore is (theoretically) subject to heating up when placed on a pan bottom within the field of an induction burner. I've used that turner often with ferrous pans over induction burners. Never been burned or electrocuted. Now, if I were to leave that spatula flat on a very hot pan for a long time, it might well heat up enough to burn me, but that can happen with a gas stove, too.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sat, Nov 30, 13 at 23:52

    Bookmark   November 30, 2013 at 11:46PM
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Very little field strength remains above the metal pan base being inductively heated by the hob field. Almost all field lines are trapped within the metal. So a turner in the pan would not get hot directly from the induced field. If the turner alone could get the hob pan sensor to think a pan was above the hob when there wasn't a pan there, then depending on the shape of the turner, some portion of the field lines might be intercepted and the turner heated, probably not very efficiently.

Electrocution is unlikely. The induced current circulates in the metal, and one would need a sufficient potential to exist across some critical part of the nervous system to achieve electrocution. For example, if one used a small magnetic device to trick the hob into thinking a pan was present, and then, with embedded metal in each of two hands was able to put one's hands into different parts of the field, possibly some detectable potential would exist between hands. Even then, I would expect that potential to be too low in voltage for successful electrocution. However, hot hands might result from this experiment due to heating of the metal within them.

I've measured the (now forgotten) frequency of my induction cooktop using a wire loop and an oscilloscope probe. The induced voltage was in the millivolt region at the edge of the pan base. I guess it might be interesting to try to measure the potential across different portions of a pan base, or between two separated pieces of metal within the field at the edges of an undersized pan.

My expectation is that the safety of such unlikely "cooking" conditions has already been vetted by various European, US and Canadian testing associations. This is not to say that one couldn't, given a detailed knowledge of the field pattern, construct an external coil that could generate significant voltage, but such a construction would be way outside the scope of an accidental induction field exposure.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 1:34AM
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I have 3 screws in my left hand, same bone. I do use both hands to cook and move pots. I am sure mine are titanium, so, no worries on my part.
I use metal utensils to cook and the handles don't get hot with my normal cooking.
There is a minimum ferrous amount needed to trigger induction and that plate you have is very small. There is also a minimum circumference needed to activate the induction.
I remember reading(don't remember the source) that a ferrous ring would not activate the magnets, so if you put your hand down it wouldn't trigger( disclaimer - I would not recommend testing the theory)
It is always good to confirm with your doctor.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 5:44AM
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I have been happily cooking with induction for 3 years; I also have a 4 inch long metal plate in my wrist from a broken bone. No problems at all.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 7:56AM
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Thanks all! I appreciate the comments, especially those of your with some additional hardware. I figured the odds were low, but it was something worth asking before further pursuing induction. Thanks again, and enjoy your Sunday!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 9:16AM
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