Caution! 9 of the Most Dangerous Products in Your Home
We like to think that our home is the absolute safest place in the world, giving us comfort and protecting us from any potential outside harm. But the truth is, there might be some things inside your abode that are more hazardous than you think. If you have any of these products in your house, take a closer look, and reconsider their place in your home.
According to Dr. Jay Woody, M.D., FACEP, co-founder and chief medical officer of Legacy ER & Urgent Care, there are some serious and potential threats to your safety within your own home. “We often treat children who come to our clinic (Legacy ER & Urgent Care) after they’ve been injured, hurt or poisoned by common household items that parents didn’t necessarily think of as dangerous.” As Woody told us, these are some of the most harmful household items that result in patients visiting the ER.
1. Detergent and dishwasher pods
These items are dangerous if you have young children in the house. With bright colors and shiny materials, these pods can sometimes appear as though they are candy or toys. The chemicals they contain, though, are highly concentrated and potentially very harmful to a child’s GI tract. Woody also notes that he’s treated children who’ve gotten corneal abrasions from detergent liquid getting into their eyes. So, save your family a trip to the ER and keep these products tightly locked away.
2. CFL light bulbs and mercury
The potential hazard with a CFL lightbulb lives within the chance that it will break. If it breaks and mercury is released inside, it will release poisonous fumes that are very harmful to young children.
As Toxics Action Center suggests, there aren’t many places that you won’t find pesticides, and they’re “the only toxic substances released intentionally into our environment to kill living things.” Furthermore, according to the Toxics Action Center, “Pesticides have been linked to a wide range of human health hazards, ranging from short-term impacts such as headaches and nausea to chronic impacts like cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption.” Safe to say, it’s best to keep these far away and out of your home.
If you have children, chances are good that you’ve had, or will have a birthday party at your house, and balloons are usually a party supply staple. However, handle with care, as uninflated or popped balloons can become serious choking hazards.
5. Paint products
Beware of products containing methylene chloride, such as paint strippers. “Breathing in the fumes from this product can put children at risk of getting cancer and can lead to children having neurological and liver problems,” Woody said.
Lots of people use humidifiers, especially when they’re sick, but make sure you keep it very clean. When not properly maintained, the humidifier might do more harm than good, as it could collect bacteria or have algae growing in it, which can be harmful to a child’s respiratory system.
Batteries should be properly stored and disposed of at the end of their product life. “Batteries are prone to ignite or cause a fire if kept together in a zip-lock bag or storage box,” Woody said. “Button batteries are extremely dangerous as they can get lodged in the esophagus or nose and cause severe damage.”
8. Extension cords
Most people need extension cords, whether it’s in a home office or tucked behind your entertainment center. But be careful, because as Woody told us, in addition to being a tripping hazard, extension cords are the leading cause of house fires in the U.S.
9. Oven Cleaner
Most people use some sort of oven cleaner, but these products could be harmful, even when just used regularly. Research suggests that simply breathing in the fumes of such products could cause breathing difficulty, throat swelling, burning eyes, and more.
[Editor’s Note: This story was originally published May 2016]