Toasters: “more deadly than sharks”


Just seen this on the Daily Mail website, under the terrifying headline “Killers in your kitchen: Gender-bending packaging, exploding floor cleaners and toasters more deadly than sharks…”

Various kitchen based items are rated on a danger scale from 1 to 5. Dishcloths come in at a deadly 4/5;

Damp dishcloths and sponges, left to fester for weeks on end, may contain several tens of thousands of individual micro-organisms per square inch.

In fact, a dirty damp dishcloth probably contains the highest concentration of pathogens anywhere in the house – including the inside of your toilet.

Wiping your surfaces with one of these feculent horrors will convert a clean and wholesome surface into something reminiscent of a Third World sewer.

Wow. Scary stuff. But don’t think antibacterial products will save you from domestic peril, they are rated at 3/5;

A huge market exists for the numerous ‘antibacterial’ products aimed at that obsessive segment of the population that sees germs lurking in every corner…

There are three problems here. First, triclosan itself has been linked to hormonal problems in animal tests.

Second, the one per cent of germs that survive the antibacterial onslaught are going to be tough little blighters, and within a few hours they will have divided and redivided and replaced other, feebler germs.

It also includes the classic statement;

There is no evidence that a properly used and undamaged microwave oven poses any health risk whatsoever.

but still gives Microwaves a paranoia rating of 4/5. Chip pans hold the title of ultimate mega deadly ninja killer, at 5/5. Yeah they can be pretty dangerous, but as dangerous as it’s possible to be? Only slightly more dangerous than a microwave? Personally I’d give this a rating of 5/5:

There’s an excellent documentary about this guy here

Yes, I can link this to nanotech! It’s about public perception of risk. If the science editor of the Daily Mail has such staggering inability to see that the reason more people die because of toasters than sharks is because vastly more people encounter toasters on a daily basis, how can he be expected to report rationally on the risks of something complex like nanotechnology?

Thanks to @EvidenceMatters for tweeting the Daily Mail story

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7 Comments on “Toasters: “more deadly than sharks””

  1. Uponnothing Says:

    Precisely. Cars are more deadly than sharks, as probably are coconuts (falling and killing people) etc.

    • jjjhayton Says:

      Cars aren’t more deadly than sharks! If you see a car up close in it’s natural environment, without any safety kit, it’s very, very unlikely you’ll be hurt. But just like winning the lottery, if enough people play the game…

  2. Tom Hayton Says:

    Wiping your surfaces with one of these feculent horrors will convert a clean and wholesome surface into something reminiscent of a Third World sewer.

    ”feculent”- great word :)

  3. PBonett Says:

    The ‘safest’ way must be to subject yourself to dangerous microbial entities to the degree that they give up on you and go to an easier prey…a fussy person

  4. PBonett Says:

    PS…this does not mean I do not wash!

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