Modern science has taught us a great deal about the world and the universe around us. As years move on, some things that were once considered quite normal actually turned out to be incredibly dangerous. Picture this: You’re cleaning out your Grandmother’s old attic. Then, before you know it, an older relative tells you “just be careful up there, I think her walls are still lined with Asbestos.”
There are a lot of harmful chemicals out there that have serious effects on the human body, but back in the day some of these were commonplace in nearly every home in America. Luckily, we live in a more ‘enlightened’ age where knowledge is easily accessible to everyone thanks to the internet.
However, before the internet was invented, knowledge of certain medical practices, ideas about harmful drugs, or even the dangers of decorating your walls with lead paint was not so easily accessible to the general public. The following 8 “dangerous things” from our past were once considered quite normal! Check them out:
1) Radioactive Toys: You heard correctly! Radioactive toys were all the rage in the 1950s, including this Atomic Energy Lab that contained actual harmful portions of radioactive isotopes. Thankfully, the toy was only on the market for around a year before pulling it from the shelves.
2) Lead Paint: Lead has been known to cause nervous system damage, stunted growth, kidney failure and delayed development in children. Lead-based paint was widely used in many households, and apparently, lead also has a sweet taste, so many curious children would eat lead paint chips as a delightful treat. Fortunately, in 1978, lead-based paints were banned from the market in favour of latex.
3) Cocaine Prescriptions: Cocaine was a medical ingredient readily available back in the 1880s. This advertisement for “Cocaine Toothache Drops” offered children instant relief from toothaches while sending them on the trip of a lifetime! Even in its earliest days, some variations of Coca-Cola, in fact, contained extracts from coca leaves.
4) Smoking For Babies: It’s been a well-known fact for a while when it comes to the dangers of smoking, however, in the past, not only was smoking while pregnant or nursing accepted, it was encouraged!
5) Questionable Medical Science: Along with humanity’s history of bizarre medical treatments before the age of modern medicine, doctors sometimes resorted to creative and dangerous ways of treating maladies. In this photo, a woman is seen suspended on a device used for a ‘plaster of Paris body-shaping wrap in order to help change the curvature of the spine.
6) Sending Children In The Mail: Although there are only a couple of recorded instances of children being sent by post, here a man poses with a child as a joke. According to the Smithsonian Institution, “After parcel post service was introduced in 1913, at least two children were sent by the service. With stamps attached to their clothing, the children rode with railway and city carriers to their destination.” Luckily after hearing about the incidents, a Postmaster issued regulations about sending children through the mail.
7) Beer For Babies: Right up there with smoking while pregnant, Blatz beer encouraged young and expectant mothers to drink the beverage, saying that it contained “nourishing qualities.” It wasn’t until the discovery of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, that this practice was banned.
8) Christmas Asbestos: Believe it or not, people used to decorate their homes with fake snow made from asbestos. Prolonged exposure to this substance causes lung cancer, mesothelioma, and occupational lung disease. This fake snow product actually contained “amphibole asbestos” which is a highly toxic form of the substance.