7 Common Items with Hidden Health Risks

When do sneakers cause injury or smoke alarms go bad? Read our guide for when to throw them and other common products in the trash.

Richard Laliberte from Reader's Digest magazine | April 2012
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Bedroom Closet

Toss: Worn-out sneakers

Running or walking shoes that easily bend in half at the midsole may increase your risk of injury. Give them the boot. Remember, the average sneaker life span: 300 to 500 miles, or about six months.

Around the House

Replace: Smoke alarms more than ten years old

After a decade, smoke detectors won't reliably warn of fire. Change them at once. Also key: Place alarms in and outside every bedroom and on each level of the home, and change batteries yearly.

Bathroom Cabinet

Throw out: Old saline solution, sunscreen, and medications

Even unopened saline solution and drugs can quickly become less potent past their expiration dates. Toss 'em. And high temperatures degrade sunscreen, so replace it once a year.

Kitchen Fridge

Replace: Old water-pitcher filter

Most pitcher filters will remove contaminants from 40 gallons of water—about three months’ worth of normal use. After that, the filter is useless. Replace it. Tip: No warning light or timer on your filter? Slow flow indicates it’s maxed out.

Garage Shelves

Throw out: Pesticides more than two years old

The chemicals in old pesticides may not work as well, and worn-out containers are more apt to break, putting you at risk for exposure to toxins. Check Earth911.com for information on where to safely dispose of pesticides.

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