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Autoimmune Diseases, Healthy Body

Nine Health Risks to Avoid

By Melinda Wenner Moyer, Redbook

1. Holding your cell phone up to your ear.

Although the overall risk is still very low, research suggests that people who have spent the past decade or more frequently talking on their cell phones in the traditional way are more likely to develop brain tumors. John Walls, a spokesperson for industry trade group CTIA: The Wireless Association, points out that no major American health organization has said that wireless devices are a public health risk. (The World Health Organization, though, has expressed concern.) And texting or talking while driving–which boosts your chances of having a car wreck by a factor of four–poses a far bigger risk than the radiation may. But considering that you can get an earbud-type hands-free set for as little as five bucks, why not take the safest tack? “I think the data are strong enough that using a hands-free set with your cell makes a lot of sense,” says public health expert Ted Schettler, M.D., science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network.

2. PVC shower curtains.

That funky, chemical-y smell of new polyvinyl chloride (PVC) shower curtains comes from volatile organic compounds, which may be carcinogenic over time and can cause nausea and headaches in the short term, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. “I always recommend the good old-fashioned fabric curtains,” says preventive-medicine expert Suzanne Pham, M.D. Want something waterproof? Look for vinyl acetate, which is safer, she says.

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