Five things college students use that damage their health

Brooke Salamone

In today’s society, we are constantly trying new products and routines that are more convenient and more affordable in accordance with our lifestyles. Convenience does not always equal quality. In fact, many popular products, dining locations, and daily routines can be dangerous to our health. Here are 5 examples of things that most people do not know are potentially dangerous.

  1. Drinking from Water Bottles and Travel Mugs.

Perhaps the easiest way to carry water and coffee throughout the day is in a plastic bottle or your favorite travel mug. Shockingly enough, most plastic bottles contain a chemical called bisphenol-A.

According to Bright Side,this chemical can often be released into the liquid in the bottle or mug, especially when the beverage is warm. When the chemical is released, the toxin can affect growth, cell repair, energy level and reproduction.

A suggestion to dimisnishing this danger—bring your morning coffee or warm beverages in mugs made of glass, stainless steel, or clay. Also, avoid leaving your water bottle in direct heat or sunlight.

“I was never a fan of the way water from plastic bottles tasted,” shares University sophomore Aaron Quini. “It doesn’t surprise me that the plastic can be toxic.”

  1. The Packaging from your Favorite Fast Food Restaurant 

We all know the feeling of unavoidable hunger after a long night of studying. No matter the time, our favorite 24-hour restaurant begins to clog your dreams… it’s McDonald’s time. Before you rush to get that 2am Big Mac study snack, maybe keep some other snack options in your room that don’t contain fluorinated compounds.

According to Silent Spring Institute, many fast food items are sold in containers or wrappers that contain fluorinated compounds used to resist against grease. The possible consequences of this toxin are as followed: growth change, fertility decrease, thyroid disease, higher risk of cancer and more.

In order to overcome your fast food craving, try CVS! The CVS Pharmacy on the corner of Nassau and Fulton is open 24 hours and has a ton of snacks you could choose from. Not to mention, it is this the most recent addition to our Flex options.

  1. Microwave Popcorn

Looking to a do a relaxed movie night in the dorm with friends often calls for a big box of microwavable popcorn. Microwave popcorn is a staple snack for many college students—it’s deliciously affordable. However, studies show that the bags that hold the popcorn contain a chemical coating called Perflorooctanoic (PFOA). The snack itself also often contains the chemical diacetyl, which is found in the butter.

According to a Time Magazine research study, these two chemicals found in bagged microwaveable popcorn are linked to several diseases. Diacetyl, found in the butter flavoring, is linked to the disease bronchiolitis obliterans. Bronchiolitis obliterans is often labeled “Popcorn Lung” as many factory workers who were constantly around the product developed the disease.

The Environmental Working Group also studied that PFOA-based coatings in the popcorn bag are linked to cancer. While many popcorn companies were urged to replace this chemical in the production process, there is no proof that the new chemicals used currently, are any safer.

Do not worry, your dorm movie night does not need to be ruined. There are many affordable popcorn alternatives. In recent years, many brands of popcorn have come out that are better for your health. Give Skinny Pop or Boom Chick A Pop a try.

“What! I love microwave popcorn, this makes me sad,” shares University sophomore Bradly Patchett. “I have to be honest, I probably will still eat it sometimes, but definitely less now that I know how bad it can be for me.”

     4. Holding in your sneeze to save the stares 

Holding back a sneeze to save the awkward stares is second nature for those of us who tend to avoid attention. Next time, let that sneeze go and do not hold back.

According to The Washington Post, holding in a sneeze can be extremely dangerous. On occasion, individuals have damaged their eardrums by holding in a sneeze, but the repercussions could be worse. Earlier this year, a 34-year old man decided to hold back a sneeze, which ended up tearing a hole in the soft tissue of his throat due to the force.

So if you are one to hold back a sneeze, let it go next time. Cover your nose, but let it go!

“I love to sneeze,” shares University sophomore Lauren Moser. “So honestly this is music to my ears.”

    5. Taking a lunch break at your desk

Sometimes there’s no better place to take a break than our own desks. During a break at work or an internship, you might prefer to stay inside and eat at the comfort of your own work space. It’s not only private and comfortable, but clean… or is it?

According to Life Hack, an average desk has more germs than that of a toilet seat. In fact, 400 times more germs. Not only are there more germs, but eating at your desk can increase heart issues, stress, and hinder inspiration.

So, next time you take a food break, maybe take a walk! Enjoy the fresh air and the time away from work, whether it be at an office or at the University. And make sure to wipe down your desk on the daily to prevent the spread of germs.

What to take away… 

While some of the things listed above may be to our dismay, it is always positive to try something new, especially if it will benefit your health and happiness.