We all know that exposure to radiation can be very, very bad for you. It's been fodder for sci-fi movies for decades, turning tiny tots into mutated henchmen (The Gamma People
, 1956) and transforming a cowering homemaker into a giantess with a score to settle (Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman
, 1958). The real-world risks of chronic high-level exposure are known to be equally dramatic—and deadly. But you may be surprised to learn that some of the materials and products sitting around your house could be emitting low levels of radiation.
Case in point: Recently, superstore Bed, Bath & Beyond recalled some chrome tissue holders
when they were discovered to contain cobalt-60, a radioactive material that probably made its way into the metal from recycled medical equipment. Though the company stated that there was no threat to anyone's health from the products, news reports claimed that holding the boxes against your body for a day could be equivalent to getting a chest x-ray. And according to the Environmental Protection Agency, there's no radiation exposure that doesn't pose some risk—though the range of that risk is very wide.
With that in mind, This Old House has taken a fresh look at the everyday household objects that might just be unhealthier than you think. Here are nine possible radiation sources that could be under your roof right now.