8 Health Hazards Lurking in Your Kitchen ...

Inflammable, potentially explosive things, dangerous staircases and toxic foods… I bet Dorothy didn’t have those in mind while tapping her heels, saying, “There’s no place like home.” This, of course, doesn’t mean you should be scared of living in your own house, quite contrary – knowing what may go wrong is the first step of preventing it from actually happening. I’ve been writing about fire hazards so, today, we are moving away from inflammable objects and focusing our attention on the kitchen. So, here’s what you should know:

1. Full Fridge is a No-no

Isn’t there a better sight? If I say, “No” I’ll be terribly wrong. You see, having your fridge totally full at all times does mean you won’t have to worry about restocking it soon and gives your family a much better dinner/breakfast choice but it actually helps the bacteria grow faster. When the fridge is stuffed with food, not everything in it is able to get enough of that cool air and that’s all it takes for those frisky little critters we call bacteria to start multiplying.

2. Teabags

Tea drinking habit is a very healthy one however, there are suggestions that teabags aren’t. Teabags are bleached with chemicals and sealed using them so isn’t it logical to expect that some of them will be released once you put that same teabag into a mug of hot, freshly boiled water? They are not an obvious health hazard and you definitely won’t feel sick or anything but why stuff yourself with more chemicals than you need? Especially when you can get the same tea leaves in your local pharmacy or a supermarket and actually save money on the fact that teas packed like this don’t have a fancy name written all over them.

3. Dirty, Dirty Sponge

It’s better to buy a pack of three cheaper sponges and change them more often than invest your money into a more expensive one you’ll use longer. Yup, sponges we use to WASH our dishes are one of the filthiest items in our homes! They are often wet and, as such, represent an ideal housing facility for different types of microorganisms. Washing you dishes by hand, of course, means you won’t use very hot water and since some of these microorganisms are so resistant, not even dishwashing detergent will be able to kill these suckers. How do deal with this? Microwave your sponge or put in the dishwasher!

4. Cutting Boards

Did you know that wood actually has bacteria-killing properties? Whoa! I’ve been using plastic cutting boards, counting on them to be more safe and easier to “decontaminate” so you can only imagine how shocked I was to hear about this! Lab tests have actually proved that 99,9% of harmful bacteria found in wooden cutting boards can’t be transferred to other foods while the plastic ones had the same amount of bacteria, only, in them, they weren’t only alive and well but eager to jump onto anything scheduled for chopping next!

5. Granite Countertops

You want to give your kitchen a makeover? Considering granite countertops? Did you know that granite emits a certain level of radiation? It’s definitely not something that could pose a huge health risk but it’s enough to get me scared. Some exotic types of granite did cause quite a panic some years ago – abnormally high readings fear of lung cancer and, most of all, the fear of the unknown. Some granite surfaces have actually emitted radon (poisonous gas that causes lung cancer) in such levels that just spending time next to that countertop was equal to smoking half a pack of cigarettes every day. Fancy stone indeed but I’ll pass…

6. Salt and Pepper Shakers

Cooking always presumes getting our hands dirty and since we don’t have the time to wash them every five seconds, it usually presumes we’ll stain our salt and pepper shakers as well as the other jars containing spices we use while preparing the meal. Now, that’s completely fine, as long as you remember to wash all of those afterwards. If you touch raw meat, use the same hand to grab a salt shaker and forget to wash it afterwards, all those bacteria from the meat will keep growing on your salt shaker. Now imagine touching that same salt shaker a week later! Nasty!

7. Mold

Let’s face it, mold isn’t exactly healthy! And is there a more perfect place for it to grow than your kitchen and bathroom? If you have a leaking kitchen sink or all those hot fumes cooking produces condensate on your wooden kitchen cabinets, you may be familiar with this problem. Furthermore, molds are very common inhabitants of refrigerator seals too! Scrub, scrub, scrub and make sure everything is dry because that’s the only way to solve this problem!

8. Chemicals, Chemicals

Don’t microwave a plastic dish because the heat may cause some toxic matters plastic usually contains to be released and transferred onto your food. But let’s not forget one specific piece of cookware – you hi-tech non-stick Teflon pan! You see, when the pan is overheated, Teflon coating starts breaking down, releasing very toxic gases. Some of those gases cause cancer, some pollute your environment and some are even lethal. “Teflon toxicosis” is a very common cause of death in pet birds, by the way! Now what do you think of that?

Sounds pretty scary, I know, but the more you know about your kitchen, the more cautious and healthier you’ll be. Did this post scare you or just made think long and hard about your kitchen and habits?

Top Photo Credit: photojenni