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Home News-Telegram News Editorials FACING RISKS: We do it everyday

FACING RISKS: We do it everyday

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Americans are a reckless people by nature. We laugh in the face of danger. Risk flows through our blood.

Take a quick glance at our history. We built a machine that carries people through the air. We've now built a suit that people wear to fly by themselves. We drained malaria-filled swamps to dig the Panama Canal. We build huge buildings that pierce the sky and send men on boards to the top - just to wash the windows.

We mine for coal and pour molten steel. We send workers out into freezing water just to catch crabs for us to eat. We race cars at amazing speeds and inflict horrendous beatings on our bodies just to win a game of football.

Sometimes, we even use those little cotton swabs to clean our inner ears.

Wait. 

What?

Welcome to the dangerous world we live in. Consumer Reports magazine recently published a new survey of Americans' risk-taking behavior most of us face every day. The findings may shock you:

— 70 percent of us don't wear hearing protection when using a lawn mower or leaf blower (which could cause hearing loss).

— 61 percent of us don't have a rubber mat in the tub or shower.

— 43 percent of us sometimes let our kids play on trampolines (the cause of 105,000 injuries and 37,000 "funniest home video" clips).

— More than 44 percent of us use cell phones or send text messages while driving (and a good many of those 44 percent do all that while eating or putting on makeup, too).

— Another 39 percent eat raw cookie dough, a delicious source of salmonella.

— Oh, and the cotton swabs. Some 73 percent of us laugh in the face of danger and use them to dry out the entire ear, despite clear warning on the packaging.

— The federal government reports more than 314,700 footwear-related injuries in 2003 alone (there has to be some good stories, there) and 76,000 were injured by "powered and unpowered personal grooming items" — which are stories we'd rather not hear.

Oh, and if you are thinking about just hiding under the covers to protect yourself from harm, realize that beds have injured more than 1.3 million Americans. 

This truly is a dangerous place. No wonder they spent time digging out the swamps for the Panama Canal. They were looking for a safe place to hide. 

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