Health Risks Associated with Buying Used Items

5 min read

Buying used goods can sometimes be good for your wallet but bad for your health. Here are ten health risks associated with buying used goods.

10. Mattresses

Source: Pixabay

Never buy a used mattress, no matter how good of a bargain you think you’re getting. That’s because mattresses are common breeding grounds for bedbugs. And, you likely won’t be able to tell just by looking at it that it has a bedbug infestation since these pests often stay hidden until there’s a warm body lying on the mattress. Not only that, but the bugs can spread to other things in your home, like your rugs, furniture, and clothing.

There are other health hazards associated with used mattresses, too, such as mold and dust mites.

9. Tires

Source: Pexels

Used tires can seem like a steal, but if you’re thinking about buying them, you should consider the fact that you don’t know their history. In other words, they could have been in situations that caused damage that you can’t see. For example, they may have been towing loads that were far too heavy, they could have been driven at high speeds, or they could have been in an accident. Even if none of these things happened, the tires could still be past their expiration date. Tires are only good for six years — regardless of whether you drive on them every day or every four months.

8. Car Seats

Car Seat
Source: Pixabay

Safety standards for car seats (booster seats, too) change frequently, so it’s best to buy these items brand new. What’s more, is that you couldn’t possibly know the car seat’s history. If it’s been in an accident — even if it was a small fender bender — it could have been damaged. And, if that’s the case, it won’t protect your child as it should. Plus, car seats, like everything else, have an expiration date. Car seats typically have a service life of about six years.

7. Helmets

Source: Pixabay

Here’s another item that you won’t be able to know its history just by glancing at it. According to an article published by WebMD, a helmet is made to hold up through just ONE crash or drop on a hard surface. After that, the foam on the inside squeezes. And, while it may look perfectly fine, it won’t provide the protection you need. Here’s something else: the older a helmet is, the more likely it won’t meet current safety standards. Plus, the materials in helmets can break down over time.

6. Furniture That Smells

Upholstered Furniture
Source: Pixabay

Upholstered fabrics and case goods can absorb any number of smells, including pet odors, cigarette smoke, cooking odors, smoke from fires, and urine. The last thing you want is to bring those smells into your home. Some of them are just plain annoying, but some of them can be hazardous to your health. For example, thirdhand smoke (cigarette smoke odors in furniture that belonged to firsthand smokers) can be just as dangerous as secondhand smoke. It reacts with airborne chemicals to form carcinogens, it can cause damage and breaks in human DNA, and researchers believe it may be the cause of lung cancers not directly related to firsthand or secondhand smoking.

5. Swimwear or Underwear

Swimwear Underwear
Source: Pixabay

Used clothing is typically okay to purchase — as long as you wash it thoroughly. But, underwear and swimwear is an entirely different matter altogether. Think about where people wear these items. Now, think about what residues could possibly still be in them — even when washed. Disgusting, isn’t it? But, the truth of the matter is that underwear and swimwear can not only contain traces of poop and urine; they can also harbor genital infections from the previous wearer. That being said, do yourself a favor and purchase your intimate apparel brand new.

4. Breast Pumps

Breast Pump
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Matthew Hoelscher from Doral, FL, USA / CC BY-SA (

Did you know that the Food and Drug Administration and other organizations caution women against sharing breast pumps? Yep, it’s true. That’s because consumer-grade pumps have the potential for cross-contamination, which can leave your little one quite ill. Such as the case of the preterm infant who developed meningitis and ended up having her brain tissue destroyed after being fed milk from a contaminated breast pump. And, even if you purchase a new breast pump, it becomes “used” after the first time you use it. That being said, you need to make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before handling the pump, carefully clean it after each use, and store it in a place that helps to avoid contamination.

3. Cribs

Source: Pixabay

There are quite a few reasons why you should avoid purchasing a used crib. For one thing, if it was made before 2011, it does not meet current safety standards. New guidelines were put in place that year to ensure that baby beds were safer and more durable. Another reason is that a used crib may not come with its owner’s manual and all the associated hardware. Lastly, you don’t know the history of the crib’s mattress, which could be infested with bedbugs.

2. Makeup

Makeup Brush
Source: Pixabay

According to, there’s an article in Allure magazine that warns against buying used makeup. “Used makeup can be contaminated with bacteria, fungus, or other microorganisms which can put you at risk for dangerous infections and potentially other adverse effects as a result of these infections,” Sejal Shah, a dermatologist in New York, told the magazine.

TIP: You may want to avoid the makeup testers in stores, too. They can contain all sorts of contaminants that could cause skin rashes and serious infections.

1. Gently Used Medical Equipment

Medical Equipment
Source: Pixabay

There are several reasons why you should be wary when buying gently used medical equipment. For one thing, it might not have been sanitized. And, if that’s the case, it could be harboring some dangerous germs. For example, a wheelchair might have a urine-stained cushion. A shower chair might have mold. A lift chair that has fabric upholstery might not be able to be steam-cleaned. If this is the case, you want to steer clear of these items.
Another reason why you may want to avoid purchasing gently used medical equipment is that it might have slight imperfections that could pose safety issues, like a shower chair that has scratches that could hurt your bare skin or don’t have rubber feet to keep it in place. Or, a lift chair that doesn’t raise and lower properly.

This doesn’t mean that there isn’t any used medical equipment that’s in excellent condition. You just have to do a thorough assessment to make sure it’s safe before you purchase it.


Have you ever purchased any of the above items used? Did you experience any health issues from them? Let us know in the comments below.