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Dangers in the home

Dangers in the home
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You wouldn’t think old pancake mix, spices, or makeup could be a problem – but they have the potential to make you very sick. Remove the dangers from your household with this handy guide.

Off-brand phone chargers

Off-brand phone chargers
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You may be tempted to buy that cheapy model at the airport, but studies show this can pose dangers to your expensive smartphone. Ken Shirriff of How-To Geek took a dozen chargers and put them to the test. He found that most off-brand chargers provided inconsistent power, leading to battery damage. Don’t miss these 23 subtle ways your home could be making you sick.

Old pancake mix

Old pancake mix
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According to experts at DoesItGoBad.com, packaged pancake mixes (along with many other cake mixes) can be toxic in certain circumstances. It’s a breeding ground for hard-to-spot mould and bacteria, which can be fatal for allergy sufferers. If it is past the “best by” date on the label, toss that expired box or bag right away. Here are 13 foods you should never, ever eat past the expiration date.

Dried flowers

Dried flowers
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Pets tend to chew on things they aren’t supposed to – and that can be dangerous if you have dried flower arrangements lying around. According to The Nest, the issue is twofold: The flowers themselves pose a threat, and so do the materials used to make the flower arrangements. Many plants are toxic to both dogs and cats, and these materials can cause serious intestinal blockages or even acute poisoning. Find out the 12 foods you didn’t know can kill your dog.

Expired makeup

Expired makeup
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Yes, beauty products do go bad. Even worse – they can cause breakouts, skin parasites, infections, and loss of vision if not disposed of at the proper time. While it may be difficult to toss away our precious samples, old makeup can serve as a breeding ground for germs, harbouring nasty bacteria that can wreak some serious damage. Along with throwing out expired makeup, here are some essential ways to prevent make-up allergies.

Wire hangers

Wire hangers
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Keeping your clothes on flimsy metal for too long can damage your favourite pieces. Maeve Richmond, a home organisation expert and founder of Maeve’s Method, tells Well and Good: “Wire hangers truly are too thin. Not only can they cause awkward stretch marks on clothes, but they will bend over time, causing unsightly bunch-ups in our closets, and our clothing to hang at funny angles.” Did you know that items in your home can also affect your mental health? Here are 15 sneaky things in your home that can cause you anxiety.

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Old dish sponges

Old dish sponges
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A study published in Scientific Advances reveals that the most bacteria-riddled thing in your house is your kitchen sponge. Their porous nature and liquid-absorbing abilities make them the ideal living space. Even if you’re practicing proper hygiene – soaping and rinsing the sponge regularly – it won’t be enough. Experts recommend replacing your kitchen sponge weekly. Along with kitchen sponges, you should wash your hands immediately after touching these things.

Stale spices

Stale spices
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Most people choose to believe spices can last forever – they don’t. A report from the FDA notes that common imported spices are contaminated with salmonella at twice the rate of all other imported foods, including coriander, oregano, basil, sesame seeds and black pepper. If you want to avoid an unexpected bout of food poisoning, make sure to clean out your pantry regularly. Discover the 35 things food manufacturers won’t tell you.

Cheap jewellery

Cheap jewellery
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Those bargain deals are too good to be true: A non-profit organisation called The Ecology Centre ran tests on 99 pieces of jewellery that were purchased from 14 different discount stores. They found that over half of the jewellery – all of which cost less than ten dollars – had high levels of toxic chemicals; 27 of the pieces had lead levels that exceeded the safe limit (300 ppm) for children’s products.

Air fresheners

Air fresheners
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You may be a fan of the way they make your house or car smell, but air fresheners can contain serious toxins called phthalates – and many don’t even list them as an active ingredient. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, those toxins can easily affect hormones and reproductive health, especially in children. Side effects for men included lower testosterone levels, decreased sperm counts, and lower sperm quality. Follow our guide to banishing bad smells from your home, and you’ll no longer have need for air freshener!

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Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine May issue will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in that region. We hope to have the issues available in early June, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team