People Break Down The Most 'F**ked Up' Thing To Come Out In Stores That’s Now Discontinued
Nathália Rosa on Unsplash

Ah, the good old days, before things like product testing and consumer safety commissions.

If someone would buy it, at some point you could probably sell it.

Even if it was a really bad idea or really, really dangerous.

Lawn darts, anyone?


Redditor fishermen4life2 asked:

"What was the most f'ked up thing to come out in stores that’s now discontinued?"

That Radioactive Glow

"I guess radium watches and jewelry that glowed in the dark and gave people terminal cancer." ~ locrianmode81

"Hand painted by the way, with no protective equipment. The workers became known as radium girls, and there’s pictures of them playing with the paint, putting it on their teeth and stuff. It’s messed up." ~ Vicorin

"They licked the brushes to narrow the tip so they could paint those small parts." ~ Thomisawesome

"It's sad that it took quite a long time to establish the link between radiation and cancer, by which time the damage was done. Radium toothpaste was popular for a while, as were radium food supplements."

"It’s odd how obvious we think the link is today, even Marie Curie dying of cancer at a relatively young age wasn’t seen as an indication that the stuff was harmful. In the early days they genuinely did not know." ~ Global-Technician990

Play With X-Rays

"Many shoe stores used to have fluoroscope X-Ray machines for customers to see how well their foot fit into the shoe they were trying on. They were often unshielded and were highly radioactive." ~ doingthehumptydance

"Yep, when I was a kid a local shoe store had one and when you got a new pair of shoes you could stick your feet in and wiggle your toes and watch where they were in relation to the edge of the shoe."

"I think I only got to use it once or twice and then my parents got real nervous about them and didn't take me to that shoe store anymore. Then afterwards I'd go home and sleep right next to a wind up alarm clock that glowed in the dark."

"I'll tell you, if you ever wonder why some boomers are how they are, it's possibly because you have no idea what shit we were exposed to as kids, between radioactive sh*t, lead, asbestos, all kinds of plastics, various powerful insecticides that our parents applied to lawns that we'd then play on..." ~ oldepharte

"...and our pediatricians had them in their offices, too. I used to love to sit on the table and watch my bones move as I wiggled my fingers, turned my hand and see the two bones in my lower arm articulate...they'd just let me play like that while Mom talked to the doctor." ~ Spirit50Lake

"They were particularly hazardous not for the customer, but for the employees operating them."

"If you've ever had chest or dental x-rays done on you (and theres a good chance you've had at least one of these done), after the attending nurse/dentist puts the shielding on you, they will step out of the room while the scan is happening."

"This is because they do these scans several times a day, and while each individual scan's radioactive dose is low, the cumulative exposure to several a day being done can add up and result in cancer or worse."

"These foot x-rays were done at a time when this concept was not well understood, and many employees got sick from the radiation exposure." ~ Metlman13

Bang, Bang, Boom!

"As a UK school boy, trips to France were an excuse to buy explosives. I don’t know if they still sell them or not, but ‘bangers’ as we called them were like little sticks of explosives where you lit the fuse and retired to a safe distance."

"All the souvenir shops sold them. They came in different sizes and strengths. Once you got your bangers home, you blew up as much stuff as you could."

"Apples still on the tree were good. Toys were fun too. The more f'ked up kids would explode live frogs etc. This was in the 1980s." ~ Kirkoid

"As the little sister of a 1980s UK school boy, can confirm. My Sindy doll didn't stand a chance." ~ ThanksMrBergstrom

"In the US, the firecracker laws vary from state to state. I grew up in a state where they were illegal but we had an uncle who was an inter-state truck driver and he'd bring back all sorts of explosive goodies for my brother to potentially injure himself with."

"He'd give them to my brother on the sly, of course. My mom didn't approve." ~ jinantonyx

"French person here, you can easily buy firecrackers/bangers but their size/explosive power is regulated now—you can’t buy really big ones. Those available are the size of a finger." ~ LCSdrd

Light It Up

"I watched some YouTube series about things in the home that could kill you throughout history and apparently when electricity started being common place in homes, nothing was yet regulated and inventors went absolutely buck f'king wild with the products they put out."

"The series specifically mentioned a table cloth with uninsulated electric mesh wiring running through the entire thing which you could plug in, and no, this was not designed to be a heated blanket."

"It was sold alongside other electrical accessories you could just plug right in to the tablecloth by stabbing the prongs through the fabric and the mesh wiring."

"This obviously resulted in electrocution and fires." ~ Korrin

"Why would you even want an electric tablecloth? Like what could be improved by electrifying it??" ~ aMoustachioedMan

"It's like a invisible extension cord for a table lamp or something." ~ piggyboy2005

"Powering lamps on it without the need for cables running across the tabletop (or drilling holes to hide the cables)." ~ alanthemanofchicago

Toxic Holidays

"Fake snow made from asbestos." ~ sublater

"My grandmother had an artificial Christmas tree that in some way made it snow on itself. You’d plug it in and fill the tray with asbestos snow and watch the 'snow' fall on the tree."

"She used that machine in the 80’s when I was a kid. No f'king wonder I have all these respiratory problems…"

"She bought it in the 60’s according to my mother." ~ DogMedic101st

"It baffled me when I found out that asbestos is like, a natural thing."

"With a name like that, I swore it was man-made."

"Though I also never bothered to look into it's history since it all ends with 'yeah it got banned for giving us cancer & sh*t'." ~ vizthex

"They also made Tinsel that was strips of lead foil. Kids used to chew on them and many pets died from them." ~ The_Last_Ron1n

"I found a box of lead tinsel in my grandmother’s attic. I regret tossing it out. It would’ve made for fun conversations about the olden times." ~ jjetsam

"I have a small clear plastic ornament with a little bit in it. It's part of what's left of the tinsel my grandfather used to use year after year."

"My parents kept using it until there wasn't enough left to bother and then made the ornaments. They have one and so does my brother. It's a fun keepsake, and it's all safely within plastic." ~ Hidesuru

Fried Worms

"There was a product called the 'worm getter' in the 80s, basically a rod that shocked the ground outside your house that for some reason caused worms to come out of the ground so you didn't have to buy them yourself."

"Yeah there was about 30 deaths attributed to this thing from people shocking themselves and it was recalled." ~ Maximus-53

"My dad just built his own with an extension cord and a metal rod. Stick it in the ground and plug it in." ~ SC487

"That product was safe, and it included safeguards to protect users and anyone else nearby."

"What happened was, people balked at the price and figured they could make their own using electrical wire and pieces of rebar with electrical tape for handles."

"So Washington banned the legitimate, safe product." ~ wufoo2

"Literally the first thing that popped up when i googled this was an article saying 30 people died from copy cat devices that were essentially just rods with extension cords. Not the worm-getter itself." ~ Zappy_Kablamicus

"My great grandfather used get rid of moles in a similar way… several car batteries attached to metal rods in the ground and then flood the yard. My father once ran into the yard right before Grandpa Joe flipped the on switch."

"My dad said Joe never truly yelled at him except for that one time. If it was enough charge for a yard full of moles, I imagine it would have been enough to severely damage a child." ~ janbradybutacat

Un-Rely-Able

"The whole reason that tampons today have warnings about toxic shock syndrome was because of a brand of tampons [Rely] back in the 70s." ~ AwfulDjinn

"GODDAMN IT I MISS THOSE TAMPONS! They were the only ones I could wear that didn't make me get up in the middle of the night to change out."

"They weren't made to be left in the entire cycle - it's just that they never. leaked. so people would be stupid and not change them regularly and get sick. And they were the only tampons that I couldn't feel up there all the time."

"They were like little mesh teabags filled with tiny super absorbant sponges that gently expanded in all directions. Personally I only ever used them at night."

"OK, to be fair, I had endometriosis something wicked (although it took 15 yrs to diagnose) and I'm far past the age of menstruation, but those were The. Bomb."

"People who can't use things according to directions are why we can't have nice things." ~ Toirneach

Numbing Narcotics

"During the First World War, department stores, including Harrod's, sold kits containing syringes, needles and tubes of cocaine and heroin.

It was promoted as a present for friends on the frontline—shoot up to make life in the trenches more bearable and alleviate the horrors of war." ~ SockpuppetPseudonym2

"To be fair, at the time heroine was still considered fairly tame. People still took opium to sleep at night and cocaine was in cough syrup."

"This ends abruptly after this period, but it’s was a more intoxicated time." ~ midnightword

"Cocaine and heroin were relatively common medicines back then. Also as many have said when dealing with WWI levels of bullsh*t..." ~ whitexknight

"Well the horrors of WWI trench warfare are pretty awful. I’d have appreciated this care package were I on the front lines." ~ schmidthead27

Eating Not-Gummi Worms

"Diet pills from Sears catalog in the early 1900s."

"The first pill was a tapeworm egg."

"The second pill was a drug to kill the tapeworm. You'd take it when you reached your desired weight." ~ Tathas

"In a similar vein, DNP - dinitrophenol, an explosive literally used to burn fat."

"In layman's terms it allows the body to turn stored fuel ie. fat into heat uncontrollably. It'll cook you from the inside out and a fatal dose is not very much at all." ~ Budpets

Heavy Metal

"My grandfather had a kit for kids to make their own lead soldiers. It came with the molds for the soldiers, a bunch of ingots of lead, and a cooking pot to melt the lead in."

"Then the child could pour the molten lead into the mold, wait for it to cool, then play with their new toy. What fun!" ~ PaulsRedditUsername

"The amount of lead and mercury that got casually played with by kids before about 1980 or so is really quite astounding. My Dad grew up in the 70s and remembers his mother melting lead in an old frying pan so he could play with it."

"They’d also fool around with mercury when a thermometer broke."

"No, my Dad wasn’t abused or raised by morons. That’s just how it was back then, people didn’t think anything of that stuff." ~ r3dd1tu5er

"This one's a double whammy. A poisonous, molten metal... For kids!"

"Looked up the melting point of lead thinking it couldn't be that high, right? It's lead after all."

"Nope, 651.5 degrees Fahrenheit." ~ emartinoo

"When I was in elementary school in the early 1980s, our teacher brought out a large glass beaker (probably three inches by eight inches) about 3/4th full of mercury to pass around. At least she warned us not to touch the mercury…" ~ spect0rjohn

"I was a kid in the 70s and distinctly remember playing with Mercury. It’s so pretty…" ~ FkedupUnicorn

"Makes you wonder what we play around with that we don't think about right now." ~ holigay123

The good old day...

It's a wonder anyone survived.

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