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Our lives now revolve around an endless stream of electronic gadgets and devices to ensure the everyday activities we engage in are carried out with supposedly relative ease. However, in some cases these objects could be doing us more harm than good, as the following stories and examples shows. Let buyer (and user) beware!

It Wasn’t Me… The Sat Nav Told Me To Do It…

In recent years, incidences and accidents involving Sat Nav systems have become more commonplace as drivers blindly assume that what the pretty lady or hunky fellow with the voice like melted chocolate says is gospel truth. They tell you to turn left, you do. They tell you to turn right, you obey. They tell you to drive over a cliff, and boom! Traffic Jam.This was more or less what happened to Robert Jones who had a lucky escape with a rather expensive BMW (and his life), when his Sat Nav directed him over a one hundred foot cliff drop in the wilds of Todmorden, in West Yorkshire back in 2009. It was only a barbed wire fence that stopped him careering over the edge to either a certain death or one heck of a re-spray job. The farmer who owns the land Mr Jones strayed onto, said that this wasn’t the first incident by a long shot and that he himself has strayed away from getting a Sat Nav for the very same reasons.
A spokesperson for one of the leading brands of Sat Nav, Anthony Chmarny commented on this incident and of Sat Navs in general, saying that “If a road doesn’t look suitable to drive down, don’t drive down it”. Wise words.

Call Me… or maybe leave it till later. A neck brace isn’t a good look…

We’re used to reading frankly horrifying stories of people who have been involved in terrible accidents, all because they were in their cars and taking mobile phone calls (or playing Angry Birds). Some drivers obviously think it’s more of an exciting challenge to put themselves and everyone else on the road at risk, like an episode of Total Wipeout, but with a higher body count and more rubber.

However, there have also been spates of incidents involving people who decide to rescue their phones from other increasingly ridiculous situations too.

A story dating back some eight years takes us to Austria and a young man called Martin Loechmeyer. He got into his car to make journey, started the engine but realised he’d left his mobile phone inside the house. Without thinking, he got out of the car, leaving it running and went back to retrieve it.

Thankful he had his phone in his hand, he returned to find the car making its own way down the drive onto a busy main road. He chased after the car to throw himself on it. Of course, the car didn’t stop rolling. It merely pulled him underneath and ended up running him over. He broke his ribs and suffered severe leg injuries. The phone was unharmed. Although he has since changed his incoming call notification to “The Hokey-Cokey”

Spare us the cutter…

You know how it goes. You’re bored at home, so you decide that instead of spending the afternoon cleaning the fridge of the species that David Attenborough doesn’t know about, you’ll make a start on shredding the endless piles of paper with confidential information on. Beware. Especially of the places you leave your shredder and who has access to it.
A youngster by the name of Dominique LaVigne of Dale City in the US was an inquisitive youngster, who decided to “latch on” to a piece of paper as it was going through her father’s office shredder at home.

Needless to say, it took her hand with it and she ended up with lacerations and damage to her fingers, leaving the family uncertain as to whether she will be permanently scarred or need further surgery in the future.
There are also some truly horrendous stories of household pets becoming trapped in them and having parts of their anatomies, particularly their tongues, cut and lacerated. The sensible and serious advice seems to be to keep these devices out of reach of anyone, animal or human who might be tempted to experiment, and also to keep them powered off and unplugged unless in use.

Don’t breathe in…

It’s one of those annoying things; you’ve a last minute job to do at work. You click “print”, send the document through and nothing happens. When you venture over to the printer it’s out of toner and, as usual, you’re the one who has to replace it.
Scientists have discovered that the micro-fine particles that are emitted from the cartridges can pose a significant risk to health over long periods of time and exposure to the chemicals.
In an article published here, it’s claimed that in a test in which particles from cartridges from some of the most well known brand names of printer were released into a special chamber; the toxins released from them were as poisonous as cigarette smoke!
Printer toner is made up of various powdery substances.

The main ingredient is called Carbon Black. However, the Environment Protection Agency has also stated that some toners can also contain particles of mercury, lead and cadmium. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration class Carbon Black as something likely to cause cancer. Due to how these toners are produced and how fine the powder is, inhalation can end up causing asthma attacks or other respiratory sensitivities.
Combine this with the noxious farting of your colleague on the next bank of desks and the person who sits across from you with a penchant for Tuna sandwiches (though bizarrely they’re never seen eating them) and you’ve got a recipe for throwing more than one sick day.

Copying off…

The next time you go to run off a few copies of yesterday’s meeting notes or pictures of your ass, think again. The office photocopier, whilst a brilliant device to make everyday tasks easier, contains hidden dangers that can be a hazard to health.
As well as photocopier toner containing similar levels of carcinogens as printer toner, with long term use, the office love seat and altar of drunks at works parties can damage eyes due to the strong light emitted from it’s internal lasers when documents are scanned.
Similarly if you want your hands to stay soft and lissom, don’t handle the paper too much afterwards!

The chemicals used in the copying process from the toner and the finishing products to set the print include formaldehyde, which can cause contact dermatitis. Scaly.
One of the biggest health risks, believe it or not, is a badly positioned photocopier! Normally, they’re placed so that everyone in the office has easy access to it for both work purposes and kicking it when it breaks. However, this can sometimes mean that everyone is potentially exposed to the high levels of ozone gas that the machine gives off. Inhaling this gas over prolonged periods can cause respiratory problems, coughing, wheezing and asthma attacks, as well as burning a hole in your cardigan. Or was it the Ozone Layer?

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