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8 Things in Your Home That May Be Harming You
October 22, 2010
Marilyn and I hope you're benefiting from adding healthier foods to your diet.

As you know, our motto is..."living longer and living younger."

So, with that in mind, today we thought we'd discuss...

8 Things in Your Home That May Be Harming You

Home sweet home, right?

Well, sort of.

You may be unaware of the potential health dangers lurking in your abode, from critters in the kitchen to bugs in the bedroom.

Here’s what you need to know and what to do.

Your Kitchen Sponge

Maybe you’ve heard about the germs on your kitchen sponge (gross news flash, there may be as many as 20 million microbes on it right now).

But here’s the deal: Your method for “cleaning” that sponge may be leaving it loaded with potentially hazardous bacteria that can make you ill.

Researchers at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service found that some common cleaning methods for sponges, such as soaking them in a bleach solution, lemon juice or water, did not eradicate the germs.

So, what should we do?

The best ways to clean a dirty sponge, they say, are in the microwave (on high for one minute) and in the dishwasher, which will kill 99.9 percent of all germs.

Your Bed

Have you been on a trip recently?

If so, you may have brought home some hitchhikers, of the creepy-crawly variety.

Bedbugs, tiny bloodthirsty insects, are hosts to organisms that cause hepatitis B and Chagas disease.

But the real problem seems to be the infections and allergic reactions that can sometimes result from bedbug bites.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, bedbugs are on the rise and becoming an increasing health problem.

The insects, which hide in the crevices of mattresses, bedding and even clothing, are showing up everywhere, from hostels to the swankiest hotels, and they often find their way into people’s luggage, transporting themselves to unsuspecting homes.

So, what should we do?

If you’ve done some traveling recently, and especially if you’ve noticed any mysterious bug bites, wash everything in your luggage in very hot water and consider scrubbing your suitcase with a stiff brush before giving it a good vacuuming.

Your Laptop

You’re the only one who uses it, so how dirty can it be?

In a word: filthy.

A study by researchers at the University of North Carolina Health Care System found that keyboards were loaded with germs.

Even more disgusting, the average public toilet bowl contains 41 germs per square inch.

The average personal keyboard?

Some 21,000 germs per square inch.

Toilet bowls get cleaned, but keyboards rarely do.

What to do?

The best way to keep your laptop or computer’s keyboard clean is to gently wipe it down daily with disinfecting wipes.

Your Shower Curtain

According to research by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, shower curtains and liners made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) may be harmful to your health.

Their study suggests that PVC releases potentially harmful chemicals into your bathroom.

While there is still some debate among health experts about how much of these chemicals could be deemed harmful, many believe that limiting your exposure to chemicals, wherever possible, makes sense.

So, what to do?

Check your shower curtain’s label to see if it’s made of vinyl or PVC.

While not all manufacturers disclose this information, some retailers, like Ikea, have banned PVC shower curtains altogether, and Target has promised to phase out the material in its shower-curtain products in the months ahead.

Your Laundry

Nobody thinks of the washing machine as a germ magnet, that’s where clothes get clean, right?

Not if you’re using a public machine, and especially if that machine uses water that’s not hot enough.

Here’s why: Lower temperatures can actually encourage the spread of germs.

Researchers at the University of Arizona found that intestinal viruses such as hepatitis A can be easily transferred from underwear to other garments during the washing process.

Even worse, some germs can lurk in public washing machines and find their way to your clothes.

So, what should we do?

Wash your underwear and towels separately, using bleach if possible, and wash all towels in water that’s at least 155 degrees, which does kill most germs.

Not sure if your apartment’s water temperature is hot enough?

Ask your building's building manager.

Your Humidifier

Watch out for the humidifier, say germ experts.

If it’s not cleaned properly, a humidifier can become a repository for legionella and other pathogens that cause respiratory infections.

And, what should we do?

If you like sleeping with a humidifier in your room, be sure to clean it often, at least a few times a week, by mixing a solution of one-part bleach to 19 parts water (for most humidifiers, this would equal about a half or full cup of bleach) and letting it sit for a few minutes before rinsing well.

Your Doorknob

Think of all the people who have touched your front doorknob in the past 48 hours: the UPS man, a neighbor, a solicitor, your friends, it’s easy to lose count.

Now think of all the places they’ve been, the subway, public restrooms, grocery stores, etc.

Those germs are all on your doorknob right now.

Most people let their guard down when it comes to their own door handles, but we shouldn’t: “Viruses can survive for days on doorknobs and you can easily get cross contamination from them.”

What can we do?

Make a habit of wiping down your doorknob frequently with sanitizing wipes or sprays.

Have a copper doorknob?

You may be in luck.

Researchers in England found that copper door handles had 95 percent fewer micro-organisms on them compared with other doorknobs.

Scientists believe that many germs, including MRSA, may not be able to survive on copper.

Your Salt & Pepper Shakers

When’s the last time you cleaned your salt and pepper shakers?

I know, we hadn't thought about those either.

These unassuming little items get touched in all parts of the meal-prep process.

Example: You give your sauce a dash of salt after touching raw chicken (oops) and then later set the shaker on the table.

What should we do?

Nobody thinks of cleaning their salt and pepper shakers, but to avoid cross-contamination and food poisoning, you should.

It's best to wipe them with an EPA-registered disinfectant.

But better still, always wash your hands after handling raw foods and before touching anything else.”

So, if you're wondering what to have for dinner this evening while you're doing all this cleaning, how about something that's relatively quick and actually tastes better when re-heated;

Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

Oven Baked Turkey Meatballs

A healthy meatball recipe that tastes great and cooks fast (ready in 30 minutes) is hard to find, and we've got it right here for you!

Top with sauce and pair with pasta for a speedy weeknight meal.

These meatballs make a great high-protein, on-the-go snack that you can throw into a baggie and take on the road.

You can also make them into a meal, easily.

Just throw 4 meatballs and 1 cup of no-salt tomato sauce (per person) into a saucepan and warm over medium heat.

Serve them over 1/2 cup of pasta.


* 1 1/2 lbs extra-lean ground turkey breast

* 2 egg whites

* 1/2 c. toasted wheat germ

* 1/4 c. quick-cooking oats

* 1 Tbs. whole flaxseeds

* 1 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

* 1/2 tsp. Salt Free, All-Purpose Seasoning

* 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well with your hands.

Shape the mixture into 16 to 20 golf ball-sized meatballs and place them in the baking dish.

3. Bake for 7 minutes.

Turn the meatballs, then bake for 8 to 13 minutes longer, or until no longer pink.

Recipe Tips:

For uniformly sized meatballs, use an ice cream scoop to form each one.

This will also ensure they cook evenly.

If you make these meatballs in large batches, it's best to separate them into zip-top bags (4 meatballs in each) to control your portions.

Then store the extras in the fridge so you have several high-protein grab-and-go meals throughout the week.

Nutritional Facts;

per serving

Calories 350.8 CAL

Fat 16.6 G

Saturated Fat 4.3 G

Cholesterol 135.5 MG

Sodium 207.5 MG

Carbohydrates 12 G

Total Sugars 1.4 G

Dietary Fiber 3.5 G

Protein 37.4 G

Sadly, that's all the time we have for today.

We hope you enjoy this recipe and found some value in this Newsletter!

Until next time, we want you to,

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