50 Things in Your House That Can Kill You

Are you putting yourself at risk with these items in your house?

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Household Plants

They sure are pretty, but not all household plants are created equal. Popular varieties like daffodil, iris and ivy are poisonous when consumed according to the National Capital Poison Center. Be sure to keep your pets and children from biting off a piece by placing these plants in spots your children and pets cannot reach.

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The U.S. Fire Administration claims failing to remove lint from the dryer causes 2,900 dryer fires annually, resulting in 100 injuries and five death per year! Be sure you stay on top of this small chore.

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Gas Range

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), carbon monoxide is the leading cause of poisoning death. One place it comes from within your home is a gas range, so install and use an exhaust vent when ever you use the range. Which is better for your kitchen: a gas or electric range?

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Knives are a weapon — even the beloved set you hold near and dear in your home for cooking purposes. “Knives represent an important source of morbidity and mortality to people of all ages,” notes research published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine. The reality is, they’re sharp, and one misstep can cause severing of a nerve that can ultimately lead to some very bloody consequences. Knowing how to use different knives properly is essential.

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Extension Cords

Along with being a major tripping hazard, extension cords cause over 3,000 residential fires each year, which results in an estimated 50 annual deaths according to the CDC. Put extension cords away when they’re no longer needed and limit their use around children and the elderly. Never use an extension cord that it cracked or frayed.

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Toothpaste goes in your mouth every day, sometimes several times a day, so what could the danger be? Right on the label you’ll find a warning: “Seek immediate medical help if you ingest toothpaste.” Consuming too much can cause intestinal blockage! Medline Plus notes that if it has fluoride in it, it can even cause a heart attack!

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Electric Blankets

It’s been noted that electric blankets and heated bed pads can cause reproductive problems and cancer, while the National Center for Biotechnology information revealed that two people died from heat stroke as a result of an electric blanket.

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Air Conditioners

An AC unit can be a major blessing on a hot summer day, but if it’s leaking, you’re in trouble! According to Heathline, a leaking AC unit can cause refrigerant poisoning, which can lead to heart palpitations, seizures and cut off oxygen to your lungs and cells which can ultimately result in death. If your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, you should purchase a Freon leak repair kit that contains the hose, valve and sealant and follow the directions carefully.

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Indoor Swimming Pool

The idea of an indoor swimming pool just seems swanky. But the option to indulge in a peaceful swim in the comfort of your own home comes second to the dangers associated with it. According to research, swimming in indoor pools can expose you to chemicals that may increase the risk for cancer and respiratory ailments, such as asthma. Researchers say that the danger is partially created by pool chemicals used as disinfectants. And, an indoor pool, just like one outside, must be secured so no one, especially children, can wander in unsupervised.

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Flat-Screen TV

It’s great for watching sporting events or hosting movie nights, but unfortunately it’s also a silent killer! According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, more than 17,000 kids were taken to the E.R. each year between 1990 and 2011 with television tip-over-related injuries. Be sure you mount your TV on the wall!

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Magnets aren’t something that usually comes to mind when you think about dangers in the house, but small magnets that can be ingested can stick together and trap and compress portions of the bowel wall between them. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this can potentially lead to perforation, ischemia, sepsis and bowel obstructions in children.

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metal kitchen vent hood
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Your Range Hood

According to Brett Singer, Ph.D., “Literally, millions to many millions of people are routinely being exposed to air pollutants at levels that we don’t allow outdoors.” He told the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would say we don’t have a carbon monoxide or nitrogen dioxide problem in this country…We absolutely do have that problem. It’s just happening indoors.” The key is to design stove range hoods that are far more effective, since most ones in use today are generally inefficient at capturing the pollutants and transporting them outside.

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Mothballs are the old-school way to keep seasonal clothes and linens from being damaged while in storage, but some mothballs contain naphthalene, which is categorized as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA.

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peeling lead paint
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Lead Paint

The chances of your home having lead paint are very high if your home was built before 1978. If old paint is chipping or cracking, the toxicity can be inhaled or ingested, especially during renovations. According to the Mayo Clinic, lead exposure can result in developmental delays, abdominal pain, neurological changes and irritability. At very high levels, it can be fatal.

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Invisible mold spores are everywhere, although they need moisture to turn into the real deal. When full-fledged mold occurs, it can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Some molds even produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, which have been linked to nausea, immune system suppression, liver damage, central nervous system damage and cancer.

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Cleaning the Bathroom

Cleaning the bathroom is an essential home maintenance task, but did you know mixing bleach with other common household cleaners can potentially kill you? According to the CDC, you should never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaner.

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Acetaminophen, a pain reliever aka Tylenol, is found in other medications that cause about 500 deaths in the U.S. per year. When you’re sick, you may not realize that mixing medications from your medicine cabinet (such as Tylenol and NyQuil) can lead to an overdose. Always read the labels! Check out this cool DIY medicine cabinet that has a secret compartment.

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Oven Cleaner

Oven cleaners may result in a squeaky-clean oven, but they also pose a risk to your health, with the chemicals used in them capable of causing chemical burns on your skin. Using the self-clean mode after spraying your oven with oven cleaner can result in fumes that can cause respiratory distress or even death according to MedlinePlus.

Here’s how to steam-clean your oven.

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Pheromone Diffusers

Certain pheromones, called calming or appeasing pheromones, can work to relieve stressed pets. Pet pheromone products serve as a natural way to keep your pet chilled out, and avoid that barking, peeing in the wrong places and otherwise stressed-out behavior. There are various products on the market, including pheromone diffusers. These are, however, flammable, and can put you at risk for a house fire.

Photo: Courtesy of Comfort Zone

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Furniture Stain

DIYers love to refinish antique furniture, but if you’re going to do it, make sure you do it outside! Wood stain gives off dangerous fumes and is highly flammable.

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They do the job of getting you from one floor of your house to the next, but stairs are also a dangerous obstacle. According to the National Safety Council, over a million injuries take place on stairs every year. In fact, an estimated 12,000 people die from falling down steps each year. Be sure you go barefoot whenever possible, go slowly and use the handrail. If you have stairs without a railing, here’s how to install one.

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Nail Polish Remover

Some nail polish removers contain acetone, which is a toxic substance that can be fatal when ingested and not treated. According to the National Capital Poison Center, nail polish removers can cause severe chemical burns internally and externally, lead to internal bleeding, and cause respiratory distress as a result of the strong fumes. Acetone is a solvent that dissolves uncured polyurethane foam and can be used to clean up foam before it cures.

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Wood Stove

Your wood stove may be cozy, but according to the American Lung Association, it puts you at risk for lung cancer. Improperly-vented stoves can also put you at risk for a house fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Candles create an incredibly relaxing vibe, so much so that people tend to forget about them! The National Fire Prevention Association reports that candles cause approximately three percent of all home fires. On average, 25 candle-related fires break out every single day. Be sure to keep your home safe by never burning more than a couple candles at a time, never leave any candle unattended and never forget to blow them out when you leave the room.

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Hot Plates

Your small apartment may require you to get creative, like using a space-saving hot plate. Unfortunately, this appliance can cause serious burns and start an electrical fire, so use it with caution.

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Light Bulbs

Not only can using the wrong light bulb in your lamp create the wrong lighting, but it can also put you at risk for a fire. Many CFL light bulbs contain mercury, which can be harmful to humans and pets. Be sure that if you break a bulb, you turn off your ventilation system, make sure everyone has left the room, open a window, and be sure to both wet and dry clean any areas where the bulb may have shattered. We’ve all had a light bulb break when replacing a burned out one. Here are a couple of ways to remove a broken light bulb from a light socket.

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Power Tools

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration notes that power tool injuries account for up to 400,000 visits to the emergency room each year. There are various dangers of power tools. Power tools can lead to death, abrasive wheel tools can throw off flying fragments that injure the eyes, face and other body parts, hydraulic power tools can lead to a collapsed load and a crushing or struck-by accident, and more.

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Hot Tubs

While it’s certainly relaxing, your hot tub does more than just offer you a pleasant place to unwind. Hot tubs can cause people to suffer potentially-fatal heat exposure. The combination of people and heat also creates ideal breeding grounds for flesh-eating bacteria. Maybe stick to a personal tub instead.

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Real Christmas Trees

According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 210 Christmas tree fires occur each year. To lower your risk of burning down your house and your family, be sure to purchase a freshly-cut tree, unplug it at night, and keep it away from heat sources. You should also be sure it’s properly watered so the tree doesn’t completely dry out.

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HVAC System repair tech

The Furnace

Furnaces can both be a fire hazard as well a source of gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning. Stay on the safe side by getting your furnace serviced at least once a year.

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Older Model Blind Cords

Research has found that about one child a month dies after becoming entangled in cords from blinds and shades. While headway has been made to get corded blinds off the market, if they’re in your home, be sure to remove them ASAP. Especially on floor-to-ceiling windows with very long cords, they pose a major danger.

Need to clean your miniblinds? Here’s one way to do it!

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Batteries may seem harmless, but the acid inside is highly corrosive. It can burn your eyes and skin, and can be fatal if ingested. Here’s what you need to know about proper battery disposal.

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Exercise Equipment

Having a gym at home is a great way to skip the crowds and save on a membership, but there are some downsides, too. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 460,000 people are seen in U.S. hospitals each year for exercise equipment-related injuries. There have even been 30 deaths related to exercise equipment annually, so be careful.

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Antibacterial Soap

Seems counter-intuitive, but despite antibacterial soaps’ claim of warding off harmful diseases and bacteria, the triclosoan and triclorcarbon is actually harmful. The FDA notes that the soap can be linked to creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria and it is not biodegradable.

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Non-Stick Pots and Pans

Most nonstick pans are coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (aka Teflon). There are concerns that if this chemical leaches out of the coating or flakes off into food as the pan wears out, the exposure could be harmful. If you won’t give up your nonstick pots and pans, at least get rid of them when they develop scratches and chips.

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Research has found that states with more guns see more accidental deaths from firearms, and children ages 5 to 14 are 11 times more likely to be killed with a gun in the U.S. compared to other developed countries.

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A clean chimney is important for your safety. When you burn wood in a fireplace, the soot can stick to the inside of the chimney. Eventually, this buildup blocks the proper exit of smoke and puts you at risk for lung damage, a house fire, or carbon monoxide poisoning.

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According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, 12,000 calls to poison control for the consumption of Tide Pods were made in 2017 alone, but not merely because of the infamous Tide Pod Challenge. The AAPCC notes that, in the first two months of 2018 alone, more than 1,194 reports of children under five came into contact with these highly-concentrated formulas. Such contact puts them at risk for respiratory distress, gastrointestinal injury and eye injuries. Did you know that using too much detergent can cause your clothes to remain dirty?

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Your Couch

It’s your cozy, soothing place to chill out, but according to Harvard Medical School, being a couch potato contributes to heart disease, diabetes and early death. Get up off that couch already!

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Your Bed

Sleep is necessary, and yet your bed, the place you rest your head night after night, can also kill you. A study conducted by the CDC concluded that 737 Americans died annually from 2004 to 2014 by falling out of bed. In fact, you’re more likely to die from falling out of bed than in a plane crash.

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Hair Dryers

Many find a hair dryer an essential part of their beauty routine, but did you know that they can put you at risk for electric shocks and burns? And if dropped in water, such as a sink or tub, they can pose a serious electrocution threat.

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pile of spray paint

Aerosol Cans

Although convenient for spray paint and hair spray, aerosol cans are bad for the environment and your health. Victims have died from huffing the fumes, while others have been killed by an exploding aerosol can hitting them in the head.

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Throw Rugs

Small throw rugs may protect your floors, but for the elderly, they can be a major hazard. Also watch for area rug edges that curl up. You can secure them with double-faced carpet tape.

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Loose Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are a great way to cool off without taking up floor space, but a loose ceiling fan dropping on your head is less than ideal! If the fan’s ceiling mount is loose or weak, the fan could end up on the floor.

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According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, an average of 23 deaths occur each year with pesticides as the underlying cause of death. Use natural pest control remedies instead of harsh chemicals.

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A Blocked Sewer

It’s gross just to think about, but deadly to deal with. A blocked sewer results in methane and other gases being released into your home. Methane gas can cause headaches, heart palpitations, dizziness and unconsciousness. Be sure to immediately call a licensed plumber if you smell sewage!

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Damaged Electrical Outlets

Exposed electrical outlets can put you and your family at a major risk for getting electrocuted. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission accounts for nearly 200 people dying from home electrocutions per year. Prevent accidents by calling a licensed electrician to fix or repair damaged electrical outlets and wiring.

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Old Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

With fires injuring or killing more than 20,000 people each year, it’s important to test your smoke alarms to maintain proper safety. It’s also necessary to check your carbon monoxide alarms regularly, since carbon monoxide leads to 500 deaths annually.

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Your Foundation

Radon is everywhere, even in the open sea. However, when it concentrates, radon becomes a problem. It most commonly accumulates in well-insulated office buildings and homes. The World Health Organization (WHO) found 40 case-control studies that have contributed to understanding the link between radon exposure indoors and lung cancer. “Since the pressure in the interior of your home is lower than that of the soil surrounding your home, radon is able to seep into your home through the foundation,” explains S.W.A.T Environmental. The foundation does not have to be cracked to allow radon to enter, although a crack in the basement wall or home foundation can certainly make the problem worse.”

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Plug-In Air Fresheners

Air fresheners may hide throughout your home keeping the house smelling nice, but many also contain aspartame, neotame and other dangerous chemicals. These can lead to various health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Photo: Courtesy of Glade

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Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: livingbylex.com