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It seems nearly every week we find out something that was regular practice in the not-so-distant past was horribly dangerous. Whether this was the lack or poor excuse for car seats (if you even buckled at all) or using poisonous substances in makeup, household items, or worse ingesting them.


One thing that comes to mind is the vintage advertisements for weight loss pills targeted at women. Everyone wants something that will make them skinny by magic right? Wrong. These pills actually contained tapeworm. So these women were giving themselves a parasite with medical approval just to lose weight...pairs well with the cigarette ads of the time.

Curious of others experiences Redditor pinkyfirefly asked:

What is something that used to be considered safe/okay but now we know is harmful?"


Oh yeah greeeeat idea!

“Lead and Asbestos- what great products!!! Let's put them in / on everything!!” 24KaratMinshew

It caused the Victoria Hall disaster...

“Single entry/exit points on large buildings. IIRC the creator of push bar doors was a survivor of a child stampede that killed over a hundred kids.” ThrowThisTeaAway

The use of Radium...

​“Back during, like, the 40's and 50's (IIRC) 20's, the U.S. military and other institutions were producing watches with glow-in-the-dark dials painted on. The paint in question contained radium, which is radioactive enough that it can be harmful to humans.”

“Now, at this point in time, radiation and its adverse effects on humans wasn't very well or very publicly understood, so there were basically no safety regulations involved with handling the radium-based paint. There also wasn't really any sort of automation in the watch-painting field, so these watches - thousands upon thousands upon thousands of them - were being painted hand-painted by a majority-female workforce...”

“These women were being closely exposed to high volumes of radium for hours on end almost every day for months and years. Some of them - liking the glow-in-the-dark effect - even reportedly used the paint as lipstick or other forms of makeup so they could go home and show off to their husbands.”

“Unsurprisingly, the eventual results were nothing short of gruesome - cancer diagnoses being the least severe consequences in many cases - and the case of the radium girls is part of how the public at large learned about the dangers of radioactive materials.” PaniqueAttaque

It's become a sad epidemic...

“heroin. it was originally sold as a cough medicine by bayer.” WhenTardigradesfly

“Bayer called it "heroisch", meaning heroic in German, because it was believed to have the same properties as morphine without the addictive side effects” psycedelich

An accident waiting to happen...

​“Solid metal dashbaords in vehicles without seatbelts. A friend of mine in the Army had a vintage car from the 1950s before seat belts were mandatory equipment. He was a reckless driver who liked to speed and weave in and out of traffic on the interstate. I only rode with him once.” wzl46

X-rays anyone?

​“Radiation. There used to be devices to measure children's feet. Basically, the children would put their shoes on, stick their feet into this machine, and it would blast their feet with radiation so that nervous parents could see the children's feet inside the shoes to be sure they fit. Congrats, the shoes fit, but now your child has a ton of other health concerns!” TechyDad

Cigarettes...

​“Cigarettes are full of feel good compound and grade A vitamins! 50 yrs later: ..uh, just kidding?” livesquared

superman smoking GIF Giphy

Baby formula even?

“Melamine. Up until 2008, multiple Chinese baby powdered formula manufacturers secretly added melamine to their products. Melamine has high nitrogen content and mimicked the effect of high protein content in tests.”

“Babies who consumed the products were diagnosed with kidney stones. As it turns out, melamine damages one's urinary system in many ways. I could not stop wetting my bed until I was 10 years old.”

“The scandal caused a huge distrust in the Chinese food industry that persists today. It also caused the phenomenon where mainland Chinese tourists bulk purchase baby powder for friend and relatives when travelling abroad.“ GtYuhanZhang

Babies should be on their backs, with no blankets or soft toys in the crib for safety...

So much stuff with babies. Not just the obvious car seats, but all sorts of sleeping stuff. Most of Reddit probably slept in a crib with a loose blanket, crib bumpers, and stuffed toys. You might even have been put on your stomach, or had a pillow. None of that is considered safe anymore.”

“Babies are supposed to be on a flat surface, swaddled only under a certain very young age, with basically nothing anywhere near them. The CPSC just banned a bunch of things in common use, in fact, including ‘baby boxes’ similar to the ones given out in Finland.” Grave_Girl

YeeHaw Paw-Paw...

“Standing up in the front seat of your grandfather's '58 thunderbird as a 6 year old and saying ‘Pawpaw, I bet you can't go 100.’ And him saying ‘Hang on buddy.’ Then going for a snow cone.” IC--XC--NI--KA

These responses show just how far we've come in understanding safety. It also gives us good reason to always question new things that come out that are “too good to be true" because they probably are.

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