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Practices -- Cooking

Light is shining through the top of the hinge area of my microwave. Is it safe to use?

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The information below was in an FDA publication dated March 1990. Under authority of the Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act, FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health ensures that microwave ovens made after 1971 meet a radiation safety standard requiring: * two independent interlock systems to stop microwave production the moment the latch is release or the door is opened * a monitoring system to stop the oven if either or both of the interlocks fail The standard limits microwave leakage to 5 milliwatts per square centimeter - a very low exposure. Also, if there is a microwave leakage, the waves can travel only a few inches before weakening greatly. To be sure your oven is safe, don't use an oven if an object is caught in the door or if the door doesn't close firmly or is otherwise damaged. NOTE: This might be the reason for the large gap. If you have an older model oven with a soft mesh door gasket, check for deterioration , which would require servicing. If you suspect leakage, contact the manufacturer. The FDA has found the inexpensive home microwave-testing devices that are available to be generally inaccurate.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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