Caution: socks can damage your health. As can tights. And trousers, and beanbags, leaves, tea cosies, place mats, bread bins, clogs and false teeth. Not to mention vegetables.

This is the warning from the Government in its latest compilation of domestic accidents reported by hospitals, which finds that home is where the hurt is.

The data in the Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System report shows that in 1999 there were 10,773 cases of people treated in hospital for accidents "caused by" socks and tights, 5,945 caused by trousers, 1,317 by beanbags, 1,171 by leaves, 787 by sponges and loofahs, and 37 by tea cosies. The numbers were similarly worrying for many other household objects ­ 933 people had to attend accident and emergency departments after unscheduled and injurious encounters with false teeth.

New Scientist magazine says today: "It is our favourite government report. It makes it clearer than ever that our homes are full of unacknowledged dangers."

But the Department of Trade and Industry, which collates the information, was reticent about the precise nature of the injuries."The report doesn't go into detail," a spokeswoman said. "That's not the purpose.The statistics are pulled together to help inform our consumer safety policy."

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, which helped the DTI, professed itself mystified about the dangers of these apparently harmless objects. A spokeswoman made an (unrepeatable) suggestion as to how vegetable accidents occurred, and said people often slipped on household objects.

"Someone might go to casualty and be asked about how something happened, say where they cut themselves, and they would say 'It was the mushrooms', and that would get written down," she said. But she admitted. "We've drawn a blank on how you could injure yourself with false teeth."

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