Microwaves & Hazards!

   Whether it’s for warming pasta, heating beverage or making popcorn, Microwaves have made life easier! New and advanced microwaves show up in the consumer market as the demand grows just like for any other appliances.

   The material used to warm up food or beverage in a microwave is extremely important! Though one might think what’s the worst that could happen? The fact is many things can go wrong! Using a lunch box with a sandwich wrapped in aluminum foil can trigger an explosion in the microwave or make it malfunction. It may also trigger a fire that could consume one’s property! Statistics show many house fires in North America are caused by appliances!  Glass, on the other hand, is prone to break if heated up for a  long time! Other materials like porcelain that conduct heat very well will also heat up and may cause severe hand burns. As a result, heat-resistant materials that do not deflect microwaves like tin foil are recommended for optimal use! Applications include microwave cover, stand, bowls, beverage cups,  bowl stands etc.

   Another issue to consider in a microwave is ventilation. If a soup bowl or popcorn bowl is heated for a long time without any ventilation, the heat build-up inside the bowl will trigger somewhat of an explosion or even cause the fire! The type of ventilation is also quite important. For example, if you put a microwave cover on top a beverage with a small surface area and volume, it is more than likely to have no effect in absorbing the harmful waves and letting the other types pass! The ventilation holes are usually the size of the beverage cups. If this same microwave cover is used for food plate with larger surface area, it is more than likely to perform its application of absorbing rays while letting the useful ones pass! Also, when a food or beverage item stays stationary and does not revolve around the revolving plate base, it is highly likely to take a lot of time to heat up the items inside!

   In conclusion, Microwaves are used without their hazards caused by improper handling!


WHIMS Symbols

Whims is defined as Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. It is categorized into these eight categories or Classes.

Class A is compressed gas. The contents marked with this symbol are kept under pressure as gas. Examples include but not limited to acetylene and oxygen. These contents are usually in a cylinder which will explode when heated or dropped. The gas itself is toxic and hazardous in many ways. To work with this material, the instructions are to check with the supervisor before actually handling any new material. Move these cylinders with care and keep them away from sources of spark or fire.


Class B is flammable and combustible material. This material is usually a solid, liquid or gas that will ignite if and when exposed to a flame. Examples include gasoline, propane, and acetone. This material usually makes it easy for other materials to burn. One may be burned with fire or explosion or breathe in vapors given off by the fire. The instructions to work with this material are to avoid all ignition sources and ensure proper grounding and bonding of containers when pouring liquid. It is recommended to wear all protective equipment like gloves, face shield, and respirators.


Class C is oxidizing material. These materials release oxygen which makes it burn faster as well as cause other flammable and combustible materials to ignite and burn. Examples include bleach, oxygen gas and hydrogen peroxide. When these materials are combined with flammable and combustible materials, they may cause skin and eye burns. The instructions to work with these materials are to keep them away from heat as well as combustible materials. It is highly recommended not to shake or drop these materials.


Class D-1 is poisonous materials which will cause serious health effects. such as loss of consciousness, coma or death within minutes of exposure. Examples include carbon monoxide, sulfuric acid, and hydrogen sulfide. This material may me fatal even in smaller quantities if swallowed or breathed in. It may actually cause loss of consciousness, coma or even death. The instructions to work with this material is to read the label and get instructions from supervisor. It is highly recommended not to work with this material even when wearing personal protective equipment. poisonous-materials-causing-immediate-toxic-effects

Class D-2 are toxic materials or materials causing other toxic effects. These materials may cause harmful effects after a long period of exposure. Examples include but not limited to Acetone, propane, asbestos, and silica. These materials are a source of death, permanent injury, birth defects, cancer, and allergies.


Class D-3 are biohazardous infectious material. These materials are often found in medical labs and contain toxins that can cause serious infectious disease. Examples include Anthrax. These materials may cause serious disease, illness or death. The instructions to store these materials are in specially designated areas. Also, vapors are to be avoided at all times.


Class E is corrosive materials. These materials may react with metals and living tissues on contact. They can be in a form of solid, liquid or even gas. Examples include sulfuric acid, hydrogen peroxide and chlorine. These corrosive materials irritate skin and cause severe burns if exposed for a long duration of time. If these substances go in the eyes, they may cause blindness.

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Class F is dangerously reactive material. These are hazardous materials that react dangerously if heated or shaken. They also react with water to release poisonous gas like benzoyl peroxide. There is a serious health risk when this gas is inhaled. This material is also explosive. The instructions are for proper storage and handling. Heat is also to be avoided at all times.

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