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
  • Loading

    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.


    Your Comments

    • 3gBaloney

      You have constructed this page so that only 5 of the “7 Common Items with Hidden Health Risks”. What’s # 6 or 7?????????????????????

    • Ginny

      Dear Sheryl Lynn,  You are right about medications keeping well past their expiration date.  However, and there always is a however, some medications become stronger after their expiration date and potentially lethal.  The FDA requires and expiration date to ensure that people do not accidentally overdose on something so simple as an allergy drug by taking one that is 2 years past its prime.  A good rule of thumb is to discard all medications that are a year past their expiration date.  This ensures that the strength of the drug is not too weak or too strong.  The Harvard study kept all medicines at the prime temperature, etc..  We, the average person, do not do so because our homes get too hot and too cold and we are not scientists.   We do not live in a lab and therefore are not bound by scientific rules.  

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sheryl-Lynn/100001183237802 Sheryl Lynn

      Sorry but you have MISinformation on when to throw medicines.  With few exceptions medicine keeps well PAST the expiration date.  IN fact those dates are arbitrary numbers decided upon by manufacturers.  IN fact Harvard did a study that found 90% of medicines were still safe and effective 15 YEARS past the expiration date! In 1979, a law was passed in the United States requiring drug manufacturers to stamp an expiration date on their products, the date at which they can guarantee the full potency and safety of the drugs.  Sorry but this one is VERY EASY to verify online , you GOOFED!