(Photo : Image: mod kitchen 7, a Creative Commons Attribution image from kitchendesigner's photostream)
A kitchen may be more dangerous than you think.

Recently, the Environmental Working Group reported that there is a surprisingly high prevalence of so-called "superbugs" in the meat for sale at your local super market. Some scary stats include the fact that 81 percent of all ground turkey, 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef, and 39 percent of chicken meats all contained evidence of bacteria contamination.

So, while your kitchen may feel like a comfort zone, its important to remember that there are many hidden dangers lurking on every countertop. Here are the top ten dangerous things in your kitchen and how to make them safe.
  1. Ovens. Gas ovens that have small leaks can fill up a stuffy apartment with gas over long periods. Make sure to have your hoses checked and that your stove is off (running back into the house is never a bad idea).
  2. Old canned food. If you see a can of food that looks like it is exploding, throw it away immediately. It's likely to be contaminated with the same bacteria that make Botox and any contact or inhalation would be deadly.
  3. Your sponge. Bacteria can accumulate in a sponge if it is not wrung out and let to dry. Either throw out sponges out or place them, wet, into the microwave for 5 - 7 seconds to kill any bacteria. A sponge is 200,000x dirtier than a toilet seat.
  4. Cutting board. If you use the same cutting board for raw meat and vegetables then you could be at risk for a food borne illness such as E. coli or Salmonella. Use different cutting boards and knives or wash them with hot water and soap.
  5. Mixing cleaning products. Using bleach to clean is great! Using Ammonia to clean is also great! But the two should never be mixed. A gas cloud can form and can burn skin and your lungs.
  6. Your refrigerator. Your refrigerator vegetable compartment can contain listeria bacteria and harmful molds. It is best to clean all compartments twice a year if possible.
  7. Knife block. Bacteria can live in the nooks and crannies of the wood. Use 1 table spoon of bleach with 1 gallon of water to sanitize the wood and then wash again with water. Make sure to clean out any crumbs and debris in the grooves.
  8. Coffee maker. Once a month, clean out the reservoir by passing through diluted vinegar and then washing with regular water. Mold can accumulate because that area is always wet, humid and dark.
  9. Your hands. Always wash your hands when you come in from using public transportation and before and after preparing raw meat.
  10. Distractions. Preparing a meal and talking on the phone or dealing with family can result in not realizing a stovetop is on or that you're about to cut your finger off while chopping vegetables. The most important thing is to be aware of what you're doing; the kitchen is not a safe place.