Kitchen Dangers

Each year in the United States alone, more than 100,000 people go to the hospital emergency room due to a scalding injury. These burns are attributed to both the kitchen and the bath. Hot water alone causes 3,800 injuries and 34 deaths each year in the United States [source: Burn Injury Online]. Water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius); it only takes little more than one second of skin contact with 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65.5 degrees Celsius) water to cause third-degree burns.

Dull kitchen knives are actually more dangerous than sharp ones because the worn edge makes it easier for the knife to slip. A knife slip means a nasty cut, stitches or potentially even the loss of one of your more treasured digits.

Modern gas ranges are a little safer than they were in the old days, but it's still possible for loose sleeves and long hair to go up in smoke. A glass casserole dish left on top of a range burner can explode, sending shards of glass in every direction. Harmful cleaning products under the sink can also be a great danger to children, so it's important to always put child safety latches on every accessible cabinet door.

These are all visible killers, but there are also some invisible killers that lurk in your kitchen -- bacteria. Everyone knows that handling raw poultry is serious business and requires cleaning every surface and utensil it's come into contact with. You also probably know about cross-contamination by letting that raw chicken breast come into contact with the salad veggies. What you might not realize is just how much bacteria can be elsewhere in your kitchen. A study conducted by environmental scientists in six countries found that 90 percent of all kitchen cloths failed the test for cleanliness. Kitchen sinks failed at a rate of 46 percent [source: ecology.com].

Sponges are also notorious for soaking up bacteria, which you then spread over anything you wipe with a sponge. E-coli and salmonella are both highly prevalent and neither is necessarily born in the kitchen. They can be brought into your home on pets, by your kids and on the food you buy in the grocery store. You'll most likely just have some nasty stomach issues or a flulike infection with this kind of bacterial exposure, but it can be serious for children, the elderly and pregnant women.