Health experts – whether in the ER, general practitioners, ophthalmologists or surgeons – probably have very high tolerance for ghastly scenes and horrific experiences.
Some serious accidents can be caused by everyday items like expired medication and button batteries.
So what are some precarious products even doctors won’t allow in their homes?
“It depends on who lives in the house,” Dr. Boyan Hadjiev, board-certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy and Immunology. “Some items are more dangerous than others when kids are younger than 6 or 7,” he adds.
Microwaves come up a lot in conversations about unhealthy products, but everybody uses them every once in a while. Wild animals are an obvious no-no, but some essential items in your house may be putting you at risk.
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“They can be very dangerous,” Dr. Hadjiev says. Every day, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning, according to the CDC. Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rate. Most drownings occur in home swimming pools. “Also, other kids can jump over the fence to use your pool at night and can drown,” he adds. “Then, besides the tragedy, you have a lawsuit.”
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“I know kids love it but I won’t have it on my house,” Dr. Lora Shahine at the Pacific NW Fertility and IVF Specialists in Seattle says. She got injured after falling between the springs and bouncing off a trampoline and ending up on the ground when she was a kid. “I know trampolines are much safer now than in the 70’s but I still won’t have it,” she adds.
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“Processed meats, for example, are something that I never purchase,” Dr. Rebecca Pruthi, podiatric physician and surgeon at Foot Care of Manhattan, says. “High nitrates and sodium are obviously not a healthy option,” she adds. “Also, canned foods are purchased more for emergencies, not as everyday option due to carcinogens.”
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Sweetened cereals are something Dr. Hadjiev, Dr. Shahine and Dr. Pruthi all have banned from their homes. “They are so loaded with sugar,” Dr. Hadjiev says, “The health benefits, such as maybe containing fiber, are totally outweighed by the bad effects." They include too much sodium, a lot of calories and no protein.
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Guns are one thing Dr. Hadjiev says will never allow in his home, regardless of whether children live there or not. “I don’t believe in them,” he adds. “Maybe if one day I get robbed at gunpoint I’ll change my mind, but I doubt it.” The likelihood of hurting yourself or having kids accidentally discharge a gun is too high.
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They are especially bad when used around kids who have asthma, according to Dr. Hadjiev. When spilled, the chlorine gas that is released can be very irritating to the throat. Mixing bleach and acids can result in the production of chlorine gas. Long-term exposure has resulted in respiratory effects among workers, including eye and throat irritation and airflow obstruction, according to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
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Teflon (non-stick pans) are hazardous items which Dr. Pruthi and Dr. Shahine refuse to have in their kitchens. “I don’t want them because of the chemicals in them,” Dr. Shahine says. PFOA is a highly toxic chemical once used to make Teflon. This kind of cookware has been made with chemicals that can be harmful to the liver, thyroid, and immune system in general.
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Dr. Shahine feels strongly against plastic water bottles and food containers. You may have heard of the toxic bisphenol A (BPA) found in plastics? BPA disrupts normal endocrine function, studies have shown. The chemical can have a significant impact on the brain. BPA also messes with hormones even at low doses, a University of Texas study has indicated.
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“Since I am a foot doctor, I'm leery about dirty shoes in my apartment,” Dr. Pruthi says. “I prefer if people take their shoes off if possible.” You don’t want to invite dirty shoes, track dirt and germs into your living space. “Most people don't like taking their shoes off; however, once people see you do it, they have a tendency to follow,” she adds.
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Dr. Shahine only uses zinc-based sunscreen products because it doesn’t get absorbed in the skin. The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters. Oxybenzone, which is banned in Europe, acts like estrogen in the body, according to Environmental Working Group. It alters sperm production in animals and is associated with endometriosis in women.
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"It’s very important to me to choose good beauty and shampoo products,” Dr. Shahine says. “I always look for non-toxic products,” she adds. Research shows that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors.
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“I steer away from noodle soups in general,” Dr. Pruthi says. “Too much sodium, MSGs and preservatives.” Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor that is often added to enhance Chinese food and many other kinds of items. It’s in a lot of processed foods as well. Side effects, according to the Mayo Clinic, include headaches, sweating, chest pain, nausea, and burning in the face and neck.
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Dr. Ruthi also steers clear from anything that can stay in your kitchen cabinets or fridge for too long without going bad because that means it most likely has a variety of chemicals added to keep if fresh for longer.