When it comes to protecting our loved ones from poisonous items, we take every precaution. We know that we need to store our medicines, both over-the-counter and prescription, out of the reach of our children and pets. We don’t drink cleaning fluids or perfume, or leave our cars running in the garage with the garage door down. Our radars are very sensitive to things that might harm us.
Despite our safe approach, we still have a large number of cases of poisoning due to household items, common items many of us probably did not even realize are harmful. The Consumer Product and Safety Commission reports that 33 million of us are injured annually by these everyday products, plants and foods. Believe it or not, this causes 800 billion in related costs.
Many of these items are dangerous because of the chemicals that are involved in their construction or preservation. Chemicals have made all of our lives better and eliminate many of the daily worries our ancestors faced, but in many ways these chemicals contain hidden dangerous, many leaving us shocked when we discover the dangers. Have you ever walked into a new house, or an old one, with new carpet? The smell is not pleasant and some scientists have found it to be harmful if you breathe it for too long. The volatile organic compounds (VOC) are the cause of the nasty smell, and are found in the carpet’s glues and dyes. The odor usually goes away after a few days, but it would be best to request that carpet companies air out the carpet before installation to be on the safe side.
Carpets are just one of many shocking things that are poisonous. Our list below outlines the five most shocking ones we discovered through other lists on the web. We consulted lists of poisonous plants, poisonous foods, and poisonous household items. We even looked at a list of items poisonous to pets(chocolate is a no-no for them!) Please do not use our list to harm others. Our list of shocking things is intended to help you with poison prevention, not for nefarious actions on your part!
This is the top poisonous plant in our research. Although they are native to Europe and North Africa, they are common in our gardens in the springtime and are often mistaken for onions. These daffodils are either yellow and white with their bulbs hanging on a pronounced neck. Please don’t use these in onion soup (or any soup for that matter). The toxicity stems from a compound in the bulb of the plant and can cause skin conditions, nausea, vomiting, cramping and diarrhea. Doctors will often give intravenous hydration and/or drugs to treat the poison. Historically, this plant has been used as medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments. It is even grown in some of parts of the world to use for medicine to fight Alzheimer’s disease. If you recognize the name from Greek mythology, you know this is the guy who loved looking at himself so much that he died while admiring his reflection in a pond(he died from starvation or fell into the pond depending on which story you read).
4. Pressed Wood Products
If you are a fan of house hunting reality shows, you have heard people complain about the wood paneling as being old and outdated. These wall coverings, especially popular in the 1970s and in mobile homes, are also dangerous. If you didn’t know, pressed wood is made up of leftover timber products, insulation, particle board and fiberboard. The glue adhesive is the dangerous part of the wood paneling. It emits urea-formaldehyde, which has been shown to cause cancer in some mice, leaving it as a possibility for humans as well. Formaldehyde exposure can lead to watery eyes, burning throat and difficulty breathing. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a study in the past showing a large formaldehyde emission in Federal Emergency Management Agency’s prefab homes, used to house displaced individuals. These individuals are shown in the report to experience more illnesses than normal. The report encourages anyone living in these prefab homes to move out. One thing to note about the pressed wood glue is that the formaldehyde will fade after time so if you do own a home that still has wood paneling, all you might need to do is to keep the room cool to help with the emissions levels.
No, you do not have to stop eating that cherry on the top of your ice cream sundae, but you need to be aware of the dangerous side effect the tiny fruit carries with it. Cherry seeds contain hydrogen cyanide, which can be released if the cherry seed is crushed, chewed or even slightly injured. Cherries have been around since prehistoric times and cultivated as early as 72 BC. This fruit is used in pies, cocktails and even eaten raw. Don’t worry if you accidentally eat one or two cherry pits, your body can handle the chemicals. However, you don’t want to chew on the pits for long periods of time as this can be harmful to your health. In fact, if you eat too many of the pits, it could be lethal. Symptoms of the poison include headache, dizziness, confusion, anxiety, and vomiting. If you have to seek medical treatment, most doctors will pump your stomach and some will even give antidotes. In summary then, cherries are perfectly fine to keep eating as it is not the fruit itself that poses the problem, but it is best to spit out those pits.
Almonds are next on our list. As with Cherries, you shouldn’t stop eating them, but you need to be aware of the poisonous side effects the seeds carry with them if they are not prepared correctly. Almonds carry a large health benefit, but can be bitter, which is caused by the cyanide contained within them. Almonds are native to the Mediterranean climate region of the Middle East, but have migrated to places all over the world including to the United States. Both sweet and bitter almonds exist in the wild, it was only after the sweet ones were discovered, that the seed started to be cultivated. In order to remove the toxins, almonds have to go through a specialized heating treatment. In the United States, it is illegal to sell untreated almonds. In New Zealand, they have banned the treat outright. Side effects of eating bitter almonds include slowing down of the nervous system, breathing problems and even death. It does not take much for it to get lethal, about 100 mg of cyanide and each bitter almond contains 4 to 9 mg. A good rule of thumb to follow with almonds is to not eat them directly off a tree. You should only eat the sweet ones and if you do have a bitter taste after eating one, stop!
1. Canned Foods
When it comes to shock value, canned foods being poisonous propels it to the top of our list. As with the other foods on our list, you don’t have to stop using canned foods in your daily diet, but you need to know what you are eating when you do. We have been canning our foods for centuries. It is a convenient way for us to preserve foods for consumption later. However, in the 1950s, we started to use a plastic and resin ingredient to help with the preservation process. Known as bisphenol A (BPA), this compound has been tied to everything from breast cancer to attention deficit disorder. Consumer Reports have shown that most canned foods contain some levels of BPA. How dangerous is it? Studies have been done showing a 165 pound male eating one can of vegetables is eating about 80 times more BPA than recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some manufacturers have heard the same reports as they are now offering BPA free labels on their canned goods. However, the problem is still widespread as the Food and Drug Administration has done studies showing over a 1000 different chemicals being used in one variety or another in preserving foods in cans. The best way to prevent the ingestion of the chemicals is to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, but this is an expensive option and many cannot afford to move away from the cheaper alternative. In this case, you might look for the cans that declare themselves to be BPA-free.