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Nov 14, 2009 01:07 PM

Propane vs Induction one more time

We are looking at sites to builld a new home. none of the sites have a natural gas connection. I love cooking with gas but as this is not an option, I would like opinions on propane vs induction. I am open to range or cooktop. Purchasing new pans are not an issue nor cost. I would just like to know which is over all best as well as any namebrand recommendations. Thanks for any and all words of wisdom.

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  1. My original plan was to do the gas range, and add two induction burners in the island. I love both; but since my DH has a pacemaker, opted for just gas. Plus I can't roast peppers over an induction burner, or flame brandy in a pan without a match. Depending on how you cook, perhaps both might be an option?

    Because of the magnet in an induction burner, folks with pacemakers need to stay away from them, and my DH is a good cook, too.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Zenpup

      Zenpup: "...since my DH has a pacemaker, opted for just gas. ... Because of the magnet in an induction burner, folks with pacemakers need to stay away from them, ..."

      While not quite up to the level of the alleged connection between aluminum and Alzheimer's, the induction burner/pacemaker caution comes close. The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health has, with usual Swiss thoroughness, investigated the allegation that induction cooktops can interfere with pacemakers or defibrilators.

      The Swiss report, dated January 21, 2009, was based upon a review of the peer-reviewed literature; in relevant part, its conclusion was:

      "Effect on implanted electronic devices

      "Some studies have looked at the way induction hobs affect implanted electronic devices [7-10]. The possibility cannot be excluded that stray magnetic fields generated by induction hobs may affect implanted electronic devices at short range; this has been demonstrated for unipolar cardiac pacemakers [10]. Also the effect of leakage current on unipolar cardiac pacemakers has to be borne in mind. People with unipolar pacemakers are advised not to touch pans for extended periods and not to use metal spoons for cooking [7]. It is vital for people with implanted electronic devices to read the safety advice provided by the manufacturer and talk to their doctor before using an induction hob. The likelihood of the implanted device being affected adversely is very low if the induction hob is used correctly."

      The most important part of that conclusion is the phrase "short range." In the charts accompanying the summary at the URL above, the magnetic field is negligible (about the same level of radiation exposure as being outside on a day when you can clearly see your own shadow) at distances exceeding 10 cm (about 4 inches) from the induction coil, and approaches zero at about 30 cm (about a foot ).

      Assuming that the Swiss govenment study is correct, unless your husband (or another person with a UNIPOLAR pacemaker) is positioned so that the pacemaker implanted in his chest is within 4 inches of the cooktop while BOTH the induction unit is in operation AND when there is no pot or pan covering the operating burner (most induction cooktops quickly shut themselves down when there is no pot on the burner), the risk is nil; just being in the general vicinity in the same room with the cooktop would not expose him to risk, certainly nowhere near the risk that microwave ovens present -- or even the risk that being within that same 4 inch distance from a gas or resistive electric coil burner presents when the burner is in operation. A gas burner presents a very real danger from an open flame, and loose clothing easily can be ignited if it comes in contact with an electric coil, where an induction inverter peresents neither of those hazards.

      1. re: Politeness

        Thank you. But the manufacturer of the pacemaker has, in the printed materials provided with the post surgery pack, suggested NOT using induction.

        And of course, I am sure if we did choose induction, if something happened to my husband or his pacemaker, The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health would be right there to take care of him and the rest of the family. He's not even supposed to use pull-cord starters on equipment like snowblowers or mowers.

        If there's a chance of a problem, and it concerns my husband's heart, we're not going there.

        1. re: Zenpup

          Zenpup, all of us, every day, make choices about the risks that we take and the risks that we avoid. We do not disagree with the assessments that you and your husband have made and continue to make for your own safety and well-being. Although my own caution is completely unrelated to a pacemaker, I move to the far side of the kitchen when my spouse uses the microwave oven, from an (over?)abundance of the same kind of caution that you are exercising.

          However, you went a step further in your previous post, generalizing that, "folks with pacemakers need to stay away from [induction]." What we tried to point out is that the generalization does not withstand scrutiny.

          We have actually measured the ambient magnetic fields from our own induction cooking units, and they are lower than the fields in the vicinity of the loudspeakers of our stereo, in the vicinity of our (now former) CRT television set, or even the fields in the 3½" floppy disk drive in one of our legacy computers. It is a fact of modern life that we are assaulted with electromagnetic radiation clutter from all directions, and the only means to get away from most of it is to escape all cities and towns (preferably traveling away in a sailboat or in a glider, unequipped with a radio) or to construct and to live in a Faraday cage.

          We do not doubt that the printed materials of the maker of your husband's pacemaker warned against induction cooking units; we do doubt that the maker's warning was based upon empirical data. The further warning in those materials that you report against using pull-cord starters on snowblowers and mowers suggests that the warning was cut-and-pasted into the materials by someone who was innocent of knowledge. (While the stress of pulling a rope may aggravate the condition for which the pacemaker was implanted, ropes on reels do not generate stray magnetic fields; it is electric starters, not pull-cord starters, that generate external magnetic fields.)