8 kitchen items you need to replace to protect your health

Waiting to replace some kitchen utensils can be harmful to your health, causing the spread of germs and other health hazards. Here are eight common kitchen items you should consider replacing.

Hidden dangers of the kitchen

Cooking meals at home is a great way to make healthy food choices, like eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and controlling portion sizes, says Maggie Michalczyk, a Chicago-based dietitian. “On the other hand, using old or obsolete cooking utensils can be hazardous to health,” she says. “Kitchen utensils are not meant to last forever and will eventually wear out and crumble. “

Waiting to replace some kitchen utensils can be harmful to your health, causing the spread of germs and other health hazards.

Here are eight common kitchen items you should consider replacing:

1. Mixers

Smoothies and soups filled with fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables are a great way to add more nutrients to your diet, says Alyssa Resnick, a registered dietitian based in Hoboken, New Jersey. “But the base of the blender can get really dirty over time,” she says. “After each use, completely disassemble each part of the blender and clean it thoroughly. “

Over time, old food and mold can build up from the base and seep into the contents of the blender.

The shelf life of a blender before you throw it away and buy a new one depends on how well it is cleaned, from the cover to the base after each use, how fraying the cord is, and how well the motor is running, explains. Deborah Orlick Levy, a professional dietitian based in the New York area. “If someone invests in a good and spends time making sure it’s cleaned properly, it should last for many years,” says Levy.

2. Cutting boards

Plastic or wooden cutting boards, especially well worn ones, can be a source of contamination, Michalczyk explains. Germs, viruses and bacteria can grow and hide in grooves, cracks and split-grain areas of boards.

“Therefore, a simple soap and water solution or even the dishwasher is insufficient,” she says. “Cutting boards should be cleaned regularly with brushes and pads in a hot detergent solution. To minimize absorption, wooden cutting boards should be sealed regularly with a food grade sealant.

Inspect your cutting boards. Cracks that occur on wood planks are a sign that they need to be replaced. These happen because the wood dries up, says Levy. She recommends washing the boards by hand and applying mineral oil to prevent the boards from drying out. “The problem with cracks or fissures is that bacteria can hide in them and make someone sick,” says Levy.

3. Tea towels

Kitchen towels are another breeding ground for bacteria, including the type of bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. Bacteria thrive when the towel is damp and are used for a variety of purposes including wiping utensils, drying hands, and cleaning surfaces.

“Moisture in the towel can promote the growth of potential pathogens that cause food poisoning,” says Michalczyk. “Therefore, it is essential to clean and replace your towels regularly. Paper towels should also be a staple in the kitchen, to be used for single use situations.

4. Fire extinguishers

Some people keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen for safety, Michalczyk says. Extinguishers can be recharged if the pressure drops. Most dry chemical extinguishers have a gauge that indicates whether the device is properly pressurized. Instructions for recharging a fire extinguisher are available online.

You can also bring a fire extinguisher to your local fire department; Most fire stations can charge your device. You can also take it to a certified fire extinguisher manufacturer for recharging. Likewise, if you are using the fire extinguisher, you may be able to recharge it rather than replace it.

Even in perfect condition, a fire extinguisher should be replaced every 12 years and recharged every six years. Checking the gauge on your extinguisher is an easy way to see if it is in good working order. If the needle stays in the green, you’re good to go. However, if it doesn’t, it’s time to buy a new one.

5. Grill brushes

Grilling was once associated with summer picnics, but it’s become a fan favorite all year round for cooking, Levy says. With just a little bit of oil, spices and seasonings, you can grill a delicious meal, she says.

However, keep in mind that the more you grill, the more stress will be on your grill brush. “If you don’t examine the metal bristles to make sure they’re securely attached before cleaning the grill, you might end up with a nasty surprise,” says Levy. “Hair can fall into food and pierce your throat, stomach or intestines. “

Levy recommends checking these bristles and replacing your brushes regularly, as often as every two months or sooner if the bristles are loosening. You can also try a bristle grill brush.

6. Non-stick cookware

If you want to cook without a lot of oil to reduce calories and fat, nonstick pots and pans are very effective. However, they are coated with a chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA.

PFOA, also known as C8, is a man-made chemical that has been used in the manufacturing process of Teflon and similar chemicals, although it is burnt during the manufacturing process and ‘not present. in significant quantities in the final products ”. according to the American Cancer Society. “PFOA has the potential to be a health problem because it can remain in the environment and in the human body for long periods of time. “

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a health advisory regarding POFA in drinking water. Research has linked a range of potential health problems to exposure to POFA above certain levels, including certain types of cancer.

Possible health problems associated with pregnancy and childbirth include:

– Effects on the development of fetuses during pregnancy or breastfed infants.

– Low birth weight.

– Accelerated puberty.

Research also suggests that POFA is associated with increased risks of:

– Cancer (testicular, liver).

– Damage to liver tissue.

– Effects on your immunity.

– Thyroid problems.

– Changes in cholesterol.

Even if you regularly cook at lower temperatures, scratched and damaged pans will emit these colorless, odorless fumes, Michalczyk explains. “Therefore, it’s a good idea to replace your pans every five years or sooner. Inspect your pots regularly. When they become deformed, discolored or scratched, stop using them.

7. Plastic food containers

Plastic food containers are ideal for meal prep, storage, and other uses. However, older containers may contain bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical used in making plastic. Some studies suggest that BPA can get into food or drink from containers made with BPA.

Research published in August 2020 in the journal JAMA Network suggests that people with higher levels of BPA have a 49% higher risk of all-cause mortality.

Research suggests that exposure to BPA is associated with:

– Effects on the health of the brain and prostate of fetuses, infants and children.

– Increased blood pressure.

– Heart disease.

– Type 2 diabetes.

(Exposure to BPA is safe in low doses, according to the Food and Drug Administration).

To reduce your risk of exposure to BPA, Michalczyk suggests:

– On products containing plastic containers, look for BPA-free labels.

– Avoid placing plastic containers in hotter places, such as near the microwave or dishwasher. Excessive heat exposure can degrade plastic and allow BPA to get into your food.

– Use naturally BPA free storage containers such as glass or stainless steel.

If you’ve had your plastic food containers for years, Levy suggests throwing them away and starting over. “Then, with use over time, be aware of changes in container shape, ill-fitting lids, stained bottoms, or odors that don’t come out,” she says. “All of this indicates that the container must be thrown away. “

8. Sponges

Sponges are porous and moist, making them a breeding ground for bacteria. The sanitation of sponges can be improved by putting them in hot, soapy water, a dishwasher with a heated drying cycle, or microwaving them for a minute, Michalczyk says. “To avoid spreading germs every time you clean your dishes, replace the sponges every one to two weeks. Another precaution to take when working with raw meat is to avoid using sponges.

Replace these eight kitchen items to protect your health:

– Mixers.

– Cutting boards.

– Tea towels.

– Fire extinguishers.

– Grill brushes.

– Non-stick cookware.

– Plastic food containers.

– Sponges.

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8 kitchen items you need to replace to protect your health originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 12/15/21: This story was posted at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.


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