Home, we are told, is where the heart is. It’s the place you return to after you’ve navigated the crime-strewn streets, driven miles down potentially hazardous highways and traffic-congested roads where statistically you have a decent chance of getting into an accident at least once in your lifetime. Home is your safe-haven, your delightful patch of personal peace and quiet, the place you can unwind, relax, scratch your backside, pick your nose and melt in front of the TV and expect nothing bad to happen. So, it might be surprising to you that this center of security is riddled with hidden dangers lying in wait as you twist your key into that trusted lock. Today we’ll look closely at those dangers, in this episode of the Infographics Show, Things in Your Home That Are Secretly Killing You.
20. Household Plants
Bet you didn’t know that some plants that people regularly keep in the home are dangerous if eaten. Ok, so you don’t generally go about eating your house plants, but young kids might, or older kids who are acting silly to impress their friends. Chow down on some daffodil and according to The Center of Poison Control you are going to get sick. That’s because they contain a toxin called alkaloid lycorine. Eating a Rhododendron could be life-threatening, and if the kids decide to see what that Christmas mistletoe tastes like they are going to get ill. There is a long list of house plants that might bring down your curious kid or pose a mortal danger to your deranged dog, so check out what plants you are putting in your house. At number 20, this is the least of your worries. Things are going to get worse.
Sometimes we see mold and take our time doing something about it. In 2013, there were reports that an actress called Brittany Murphy and her screenwriter husband Simon Monjack both died mysteriously. Investigators said that the killer could have been mold that had damaged the couple’s respiratory systems. The CDC tells us mold can cause all kinds of damage, including giving you liver cancer and lung damage. If that goes on too long, the ending could be you in a brand new coffin. Damn, you should have gotten rid of that old mold.
Your stove, fireplace, grill, and furnace could be killing you slowly and you wouldn’t know a thing. That’s because if carbon monoxide is leaking you wouldn’t be able to smell it. One day you might just get a headache, feel a bit nauseous, get a bit confused, and then it might suddenly be game over. The CDC tell us that 400 Americans die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning and 20,000 more end up in the emergency room, with 4,000 of them having a long-stay in the hospital. In 2018, two people died and another five people were hospitalized in London, UK, after carbon monoxide leaked from what was suspected to be a faulty boiler. This really is the silent killer.
It’s been reported that people’s heated electric blankets might be giving them cancer. But it gets worse. Only recently a woman in the USA burned to death after her warm cover started a fire. Ok, so you think that won’t happen to you. But listen to this, the National Institute of Health in the USA wrote a paper on how electric blankets had killed people through heat-stroke. Maybe you should take a hot water bottle to bed with you instead.
So, you are now thinking about throwing that electric blanket away and musing over other ways to stay warm through the winter. Well, summer can be a bummer, too, as your AC might end your life. Healthline tells us that a faulty AC could cause refrigerant poisoning, which means too much fluorinated hydrocarbon – the stuff that is used to make you cool – leaking out of your AC. Like with carbon monoxide, you wouldn’t know that’s happening. Has this happened? Well, Google it and you will find out. The Indian media reports that a leaking AC took out a family of three this year.
15. Keeping the pool clean
Lots of research has been done into something referred to DBPs. These are the disinfectant by-products that come from the chemicals we use to clean our pools. Scientists in Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Spain and the US concluded that these DBPs could cause asthma, which you might be able to handle. If ingested, though, there is also a risk of bladder cancer. The researchers did note though that the exposure could have come from elsewhere, such as bathing with chlorinated tap water.
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