Mainly there are two categories of dangers that people are daily confronted with: dangers that can be easily observed and eradicated or avoided, and dangers that are so well hidden from plain sight that we normally do not even know about their existence. In the latter category fall a number of poisonous substances and parasites which truly affect our health long-term and that, surprisingly, can be found in our own homes.
1. Laundry packs that look just like candy
Doctors have recently decided to signal the dangers that laundry gel packs pose to small children. Although these products have a strict inedible warning message written on their packaging, it seems that many children find them visually attractive because of their bright colors. Children mistake the packs with candy and end up in the emergency room after vomiting, and suffering mouth, throat, eyes and even lungs burns.Due to their chemical composition the detergent packs can easily destroy tissue, cause inflammation and swelling, but can also lead to long-term impairing.
2. Deadly Feline Parasite – Toxoplasmosis
Although soft, cuddly and simply adorable, cats hide a deadly secret that not many people have heard or read about. Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease easily transmittable from infected cats to humans. The parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, can be found in the cat’s faeces and just a simple touch equals contamination. After the parasite has found a human host, the extent at which it will affect health depends on a few pre-existing conditions, but will generally lead to the following symptoms: fatigue, fever, sore throat and lung problems, seizures, confusion and loss of coordination in more severe cases. While this parasite poses real danger to pregnant women, it has been found to affect behavior and contribute to the development of suicidal thoughts and other psychological disorders: depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
3. Tetrachloroethylene Vapors
Tetrachloroethylene is widely known as the “dry-cleaning fluid”, being used in the dry-cleaning industry, but due to its solvent capabilities for organic materials it can also be found in paint strippers and spot removers. This volatile, non-flammable chemical can enter the body through respiratory (vapors) or dermal exposure and will cause severe health problems depending on how long an individual is exposed to it. Mild effects include: irritation of the upper respiratory tract, kidney dysfunction, sleepiness, dizziness, lack of coordination, headache, and unconsciousness. The more severe effects can lead to cognitive impairment, liver damage, cancer and others.
4. Lead Poisoning
Living in urban areas has advantages and disadvantages. However, the most notable problem is that many people are the victims of lead poisoning due to prolonged exposure to contaminated water supplies, household dust from paint and leaded gasoline.Either inhaled or ingested, lead can also be found in the soil, in the air, but also in the common ceramic cookware or in lipstick. Once you have exceeded a 10 μg/dl limit, specific symptoms such as anemia, headaches, learning disabilities and fatigue will develop. In more severe cases of exposure, lead poisoning can cause seizures, bizarre behavior and even death.
5. Mold Spores
Although ubiquitous in the biosphere, mold spores can usually be found in the air (in buildings or houses with mold growths) and in food. More specifically, if there are unusual levels of humidity in your home, the chances are that you are daily exposed to mold spores growing from inside the walls or somewhere underneath the house. With concern to food, it is somewhat easier to spot the mold growth and to discard of anything touched by it. Unfortunately, there are many health problems associated with exposure to mold spores and the list is very long: allergic reactions, asthma episodes, nose, throat and eyes irritation, sinus congestion, a number of respiratory problems (bronchitis, fungal infection) and mycotoxin toxicity ( that can lead to death in some cases).
This is a short list of hidden health dangers that partially covers what people are daily exposed to, without taking into consideration that even things we think are good for us might prove to be otherwise (i.e. prescribed medication). All in all – to which extent do you think we are really in control of our lives and our health?