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Top 10 Everyday Habits That Are Killing You

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Laura Keating.

There are ways you’re hurting yourself and don’t know it – even if you’re super careful – because there are lots of surprising things that harm you and your health. Whether you eat microwave popcorn, breathe indoor air or snore; these are all innocent activities that are slowly killing you. WatchMojo counts down ten daily habits you didn’t know are killing you.

Special thanks to our user Chandler St John for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20everyday%20habits%20that%20can%20kill%20you


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Script written by Laura Keating.

Top 10 Everyday Habits That Are Killing You

Prepare to get paranoid. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 everyday habits that can kill you.

For this list, we’re looking at the things that you probably do on a regular basis, and are really bad for you. Some of these entries are well-known health violators, but others might surprise you.

#10: Eating Microwave Popcorn

Who doesn’t love hot, buttery popcorn? It’s a classic snack that makes almost any movie viewing experience more enjoyable. For those of you who’re popping kernels in the microwave, however, we’ve got bad news. No, it’s not the micro-waves zapping your food, although that’s not great. Sorry, folks, it’s both the bag and what’s in it. A 2010 study conducted at the University of Toronto found that the chemicals used to line the bags of microwave popcorn and make them grease-proof are pretty toxic, and likely carcinogenic, i.e. Cancer causing. As for those popped kernels, you can get something called “popcorn lung” from smelling that delicious buttery – and chemically manufactured – smell.

#9: Breathing Indoor Air

While there’s a need to be concerned with the quality of outdoor air in heavily populated areas, the air you breathe inside can also be riddled with problems. The air inside a building, when re-circulated, can be five times more polluted! The pollution indoors comes from Volatile Organic Compounds, and can be made up of everything from rotting plant life to carpets, furniture foam, and cleaning products. Also, if your A/C’s filtration system isn’t working properly: bacteria. You’d think that new buildings would be best, but they can have some of the worst air, as all the fumes from the new materials could be doing you harm. So what should you do? Open a window, or go outside!

#8: Tanning / Sunbathing

This one should, at this point, come as no shocker. When the Earth is tilted on its axis to be closer to the sun, exposed, and especially fairer skin, becomes particularly prone to damage from ultra violet (or UV) light, specifically UVA, and UVB. These light particles are small (not quite as small as microwaves, but small), and can get under your skin, causing cell damage and burns. Over time, that damage can lead to cancers like melanoma. And tanning beds are the worst, as they concentrate UV light. It doesn’t take much, and skin damage is irreversible, so be careful out there.

#7: Ignoring Snoring

Snoring can be a pain, especially for your sleeping partner. However, there could be more to it. This common form of sleep apnea, if it’s severe enough, could have serious consequences if not dealt with. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, you could be at higher risk for stroke, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Not to mention the damage it’s doing to your, and/or your partner’s eardrums. Snoring can be seriously loud, and having it right next to your head (or originating from your head!) can hasten hearing loss.

#6: Drinking Water

For years, the standard has been to get at least eight glasses of water a day, but recent studies have moved that goal post, saying it’s fine for lots of that water to come from fresh fruits and veggies. Drinking too much water too fast can give the body more water than it can use and lose, and actually cause over hydration. While over hydration can also be symptomatic of underlying kidney problems and not just gulping down that H2O, people who do become overhydrated can experience confusion and seizures. So before guzzling your 2-liter bottle of water every day, maybe elect for some carrot sticks and a normal-sized bottle instead. Your body will thank you.

#5: Excessive Cleaning of the Ears

Have you ever looked at a package of Q-Tips, or other swabbed cleaning sticks? Did you ever notice how they NEVER suggest using it for your ears? That’s because you shouldn’t. You might think you’re engaging in a little aural cleansing, but you are likely making matters worse. Shoving anything into your ear can impact wax, trap bacteria, and cause infections. The only way you should be cleaning your ears is in the bath or shower, after the hot water has loosened up the wax. A little soap and water will take care of it, and save you a trip to the ENT.

#4: Plucking Your Nose Hair

Human beings used to be hairier. As we’ve evolved, we’ve shed most of our primitive coats. Therefore, the hair that has stuck around is there for a reason. While people tend to have an aversion to hair on various regions of the body, there are some places where it should especially be left alone. Specifically, the places where it’s inside a cavity, like the ears or nose. Those hairs are there to help catch bacteria from entering the nasal cavity! Those hairs are your friends! So, next flu season, just put the clippers down and let those little bristles do their job.

#3: Sitting

We all like taking a load off, and after a hard day at work, we just want to kick back. But unless you work a physical job, your body has been sitting all day, regardless of how much your brain, eyes and fingers have been working. From sleeping, to eating, to driving, to office work, to chilling out at home with the TV, the average westerner’s day is primarily spent in a seated position. It’s gotten to the point that some are calling sitting the new smoking, with modern sedentary lifestyles being blamed for everything from heart disease to joint pain, and even cancer. You don’t have to get a standing desk, but a quick walk will go a long way.

#2: Drinking Too Much Soda

Remember how your mom always used to warn you that too much pop and other sweet drinks would rot your teeth? Turns out that’s not all it’ll rot. Recent studies have found that refined sugar might be one of the worst things out there for you in terms of health, and soda is loaded with it. For a can of the sweet stuff, you’re looking at 36 grams – about 11 sugar cubes in 355ml. Sugar has been linked with obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stress on the liver. And since refined sugar is found in tons of packaged foods, it’s already hard to avoid, so cutting back on your soda consumption is a good start.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions:
- Cooking With Gas
- Looking at Your Phone /Tablet / Laptop in Bed
- Not Sleeping / Overworking

#1: Smoking

At this point, everybody knows about the harms of smoking. Yes, it’s a choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good one. Because of the harm of second-hand smoke, most public spaces have gone smoke-free in recent years. The carcinogens found in cigarettes and cigars have been linked to a bevy of cancers, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory problems – basically it messes with all your vital organs. Okay, some people say they only smoke when they drink – but too much alcohol isn’t great either. Smoking drastically shortens your life, and reduces the quality of life at the same time. So this is a habit you really need to try kicking.

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