Questions tagged [safety]

The balance of benefit versus harm of an activity, device, technology or substance.

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Are chemicals used to ripen fruit in developing countries harmful to the health of consumers?

Note: there are some answers to this question on Chemistry.SE, but I prefer a sceptical approach here. I ask this question in connection with a post on Facebook (in Indonesia), which asked: Hi ...
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43 votes
1 answer
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Is a woman more likely than a man to be seriously injured in a car crash of similar severity?

This article makes a number of interesting points about the potential dangers faced by women in a world "designed for men", but I want to ask specifically about this claim: But when a woman ...
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-4 votes
1 answer
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Has there ever been a burglary or assault from someone keeping an old key and using it on new owners?

It's "common knowledge" that you should change keys on move-in. Usually this is suggested to avoid burglary (or for Googlers and more casual conversation, "robbery"). But has ...
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11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is sleeping in a car with the windows rolled up dangerous?

I keep seeing this conspiracy get repeated. The conspiracy goes like this: car manufacturers don't want homeless people sleeping in cars, so when a car is off, the air vents automatically close. They ...
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6 votes
0 answers
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Does too much artificial lighting result in increased crime and safety problems?

According to a Washington Post article, Nebraska's tourism board is applying for dark sky certification for the Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area. As part of their application, they are ...
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27 votes
1 answer
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Can defrosting vacuum-packed fish in its packaging cause botulism?

There are many warnings on the Internet about vacuum-sealed frozen fish thawed in its packaging potentially causing botulism: Why You Should Never Thaw Frozen Fish in Its Vacuum-Sealed Packaging ...
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-1 votes
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Is it safe to eat rotten meat?

We can read here: Meat can be eaten when it has gone off (i.e. green), but must be cooked absolutely thoroughly and never reheated. This is an old trick for living on recently dead animals (South ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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Are expired car seats no longer safe to use?

Many websites will claim a variant of the following claim: Do not buy a used car seat unless you can verify the age of the seat. There should be a manufacturer's label on the back or bottom of the ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Should you wash tuna cans before opening them?

My dad told us we need to wash tuna cans before opening them because canned food (at least tuna) is imported on ships and rats really like to "take a trip" on these ships, too. They touch ...
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11 votes
1 answer
784 views

Does the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission require weatherized pipelines and equipment (but Texas's doesn't)?

The Houston Chornicle writes: Texas has the only American electricity grid with no rules for resiliency. Instead, the GOP majority argued that a system that pays higher prices when demand goes up ...
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26 votes
4 answers
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Is it dangerous to use a gas range for heating?

According to the CDC, you should "NEVER use a gas range for heating". Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build up of CO inside your ...
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14 votes
2 answers
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Can eating a few cherry pits lead to cyanide poisoning?

In 2017, a Serbian news station reported a UK man was hospitalized after eating cherry pits. [Google translated] Matthew Krim (28) was eating cherries and out of pure curiosity swallowed three along ...
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72 votes
3 answers
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Has a virus ever escaped a high-level virus lab?

As somewhat unclearly related in the Daily Mail: Dr Keusch, Professor of Medicine and International Health at Boston University's Schools of Medicine and Public Health, stressed that no release of ...
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1 vote
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Are Teslas with autopilot system safer than vehicles without it?

An AP article describes some recent crashes that may have been linked to the Tesla autopilot system. The article states that there have been three fatal crashes since 2016 potentially linked to the ...
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8 votes
0 answers
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Is Radio Frequency Radiation carcinogenic at the FCC's 1996 exposure limits?

A 2019 Scientific American blog article, We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe, by Joel M. Moskowitz, warns about the safety of 5G wireless technology. Yet, since [the 1980s], the preponderance of ...
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10 votes
2 answers
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Does having your bedroom door closed while sleeping improve fire safety?

The UL (formerly Underwriter Laboratories) has a Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) that claims that sleeping with the bedroom door closed reduces the risk of being killed in a fire: UL FSRI ...
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74 votes
2 answers
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Were pen cap holes designed to prevent death by suffocation if swallowed?

Someone posted the following trivia on a social media website: Do you know that pen caps have holes so that if someone swallows a cap, then air could still pass through? This started a small ...
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32 votes
0 answers
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Does cutting paper dull a knife quickly? [duplicate]

This question is a follow-up to "How to test the sharpness of a knife?", my answer to it, and the comments my answer generated. Charlie Brumbaugh wanted to know how to tell when he is done when ...
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23 votes
1 answer
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Are roads more dangerous when it first rains?

From DriversEd.com: Rain: Slow down at the first sign of rain, drizzle, or snow on the road. This is when many road surfaces are most slippery because moisture mixes with oil and dust that has not ...
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61 votes
1 answer
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Is it less dangerous to box without gloves than with gloves?

From this YouTube video by Today I Found Out, Most pertinent here, is that neither boxer would be wearing gloves in such a classic match. As paradoxical as it sounds, boxing without gloves is ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Are eggs safe to consume once they reach 70 degrees celsius

In the Homemade Eggnog {Non Alcoholic} eggnog recipe featured on the website Annie's Noms as part of the recipe the author makes the claim that at 70 celsius the eggs are safe to eat. As below ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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Are American standards on automotive turn signals demonstrably less safe than European ones?

In most countries outside North America, vehicles have separate turn signals which are amber rather than red. In the USA (and probably Canada) this is not part of the standards and a flashing brake ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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Is "Islamic fasting" healthy?

I live in a mostly Muslim country (Morocco). Now we are in the month of Ramadan. First, I had to define Ramadan: Is 30 days (or 29) where practicing Muslims can neither eat or drink or having sex, ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Has the Javan devil leaf nettle (urtica urentissima) been shown to cause any deaths?

According to Sir Stephen Tallents, writing in The Spectator, 12 March 1943: The sting of a certain Java nettle, for example, may last for a year and is reputed even to cause death. Mrs. M. Grieve, ...
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8 votes
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Is filling multiple vehicles in one transaction at a gas station a safety hazard?

According to this gas station, pumping gasoline into more than one vehicle is a serious safety hazard: The gas station making this claim charges different customers different prices per gallon ...
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7 votes
0 answers
501 views

Do defensive driving courses reduce car accidents in teenage drivers?

A fairly common claim is that young learner drivers should take defensive driving courses so that they know what to do if they lose control of their car. This comes with the implications it will ...
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1 vote
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Are schools with armed guards or police safer?

The Huffington Post recently ran a story featuring Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA saying that, "Putting police and armed security guards in our schools to protect our children ... it's the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Were there armed guards at Columbine?

Ran across this editorial by Brandon Friedman in the NY Daily News: Arming teachers in the classroom will cost kids' lives ... There were armed guards at Columbine, the Pulse nightclub and in ...
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116 votes
3 answers
25k views

Were there 18 school shootings in the US from Jan 1 to Feb 14, 2018?

CBC Radio (Canada) reported earlier this evening that the Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School "was the 18th school shooting in the U.S. since the beginning of 2018.". On its face ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Has 2017 been the safest year in commercial aviation?

President Trump seems to be implying that him being strict on commercial aviation led to 2017 having been "the best and safest year on record". When reading carefully, he does not claim that ...
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10 votes
1 answer
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Has president Trump been "very strict on Commercial Aviation"?

President Trump seems to be implying that him being strict on commercial aviation led to 2017 having been "the best and safest year on record". When reading carefully, he does not claim that ...
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4 votes
0 answers
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Are ladders more dangerous than guns? [closed]

You know, studies show that keeping a ladder inside the house is more dangerous than a loaded gun. That's why I own ten guns, in case some maniac tries to sneak in a ladder. - Grunkle Stan I've ...
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10 votes
1 answer
820 views

Do fire drills make building occupants safer?

Fire drills are widely practised in schools and other buildings. Wikipedia explains: The purpose of fire drills in buildings is to ensure that everyone knows how to get out safely as quickly as ...
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24 votes
0 answers
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Was there a Soviet anti-motorcycle-helmet campaign in the late 1950s and early 1960s?

Lessig (1995, pp. 964–965) writes: Before the 1960s, motorcyclists in Soviet Russia did not wear helmets. In part this was because of a lack of any perceived need to wear helmets; in part it was ...
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21 votes
1 answer
6k views

Do green grapes cause more accidents on the London Underground than banana peels?

In Teary Deary's Horrible Histories: London, he claims that green grapes cause more accidents on the London Underground (I presume subway) than banana peels. This claim is also repeated in several ...
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20 votes
1 answer
1k views

Does nuclear power cause fewer deaths than other forms of electricity production, accidents included?

There have been several questions related to nuclear power in comparison to other forms of electricity production: Are there fewer accidental deaths at nuclear power plants than others? Do coal ...
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6 votes
1 answer
692 views

Do cellphones pose any harm to pacemaker users?

In Japan it is very common to see signs on trains that encourage/require you to turn off your phone on trains, or just near the priority seating areas. The thinking goes that the signals somehow ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Is paramotoring the safest form of personal aviation?

Paramotoring is the of sport of powered paragliding, where participants strap a 2 stroke motor to their back and a parachute, which they dub a wing, in order to fly. Blackhawk Paramotor, America's (...
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5 votes
1 answer
639 views

Does removing headguards in boxing reduce concussion?

In this tweet from the Economist: The International Boxing Association claims that concussions went down 43% when headguards were removed pic.twitter.com/95KltTdapB— The Economist (@...
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12 votes
0 answers
389 views

Do childrens' playgrounds designed to be safe reduce injuries to children?

In Tim Harford's book-length argument that some degree of messiness is, contrary to much modern opinion, a good thing, he makes an argument late in the book that applies to the spaces where children ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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Is the self-driving car technology of 2017 less lethal than human drivers?

Youtube channel veritasium, on a video called "The real moral dilemma of self-driving cars" (ref) claims that if all cars in 2017 were self-driving, hundreds of lives could be saved. So he is claming ...
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4 votes
2 answers
825 views

What if everyone in a city flushed their toilets at once?

"The applied theory of price", by Donald N McCloskey claims: If all people flushed their toilets at once, the city water mains would burst. How much damage (if at all) will a drainage system in a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
502 views

Does using a neck brace reduce damage taken in a car crash?

In the movie Focus, you can find this scene, where a man puts on a neck brace, before crashing into another car, and this same guy seems to be the only one unscathed. I know movies tend to portray ...
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7 votes
2 answers
392 views

Does teaching 6-12-month old infants to back float reduce their risk of drowning?

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend water safety lessons for babies less than one year old: The water-survival skills programs for infants may make compelling videos for the ...
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14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is aluminum foil safe to use with food?

Prompted by comments in the family, help me clear this up. A Google search for is aluminum foil safe yields articles that claim it's dangerous, as well as articles that claim it's safe. So which one ...
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6 votes
0 answers
521 views

Do strobes on top of school buses improve safety?

Background In many states of the USA, school buses are fitted with a "roof-mounted strobe". In some states, they are required by law: Mike Simmons, state director in Arkansas, says that the ...
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5 votes
1 answer
854 views

Do frozen foods remain safe indefinitely?

I just found in my freezer some foie gras from two years ago. It's not cooked and is very well wrapped in aluminium foil and plastic foil. My freezer has been kept at -20 °C ( -4 °F) or below. I read ...
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9 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is it dangerous to run with scissors?

It was common when I was growing up to be told not to run with scissors. It seems the adults were particularly concerned about the risk of severe injury should I fall. Is there evidence that running ...
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9 votes
0 answers
851 views

Does "reverse sound technology" make headphones safer?

Purebuds Earphones claims that their use of "Reverse Sound Technology" makes their earbuds safer, preventing hearing damage. I searched for a scientific study of this technology, or at least a good ...
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20 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is 2.4GHz IEEE 802.11 (WiFi) Dangerous? [duplicate]

Over the years, I've heard (and read about) various dubious claims and doubtful allegations regarding the dangers of WiFi & 2.4GHz wireless ISM band communications in general. The stories ...
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