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    People Are Bringing Up Dangerous Things People Didn't Realize Were Bad At The Time, And I'm Just Sitting Here Glad We No Longer Casually Use Arsenic

    Imagine playing with mercury FOR FUN.

    Recently, Reddit user u/pinkyfirefly asked, "What is something that used to be considered safe/okay but now we know is harmful?"


    Here are some of the super disturbing responses:

    1. "Arsenic. It's wild to us now, but in the 1800s, someone figured out how to make a green dye out of arsenic."

    green dress dyed with arsenic
    Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

    "There had been no truly good green dyes before then, and suddenly green was all the rage. People painted with it, used green wallpaper in their houses, and women wore green dresses, all dyed with arsenic. People started getting sick, and it took a while for them to figure out that they were only sick when inside their arsenic-papered house."


    2. "My mother talks about how when she was in high school in the 1970s, they would roll mercury around in their hands during science class with no gloves on."

    students in a chemistry classroom
    Independent News and Media / Getty Images

    3. "Heroin. It was originally sold as a cough medicine by Bayer."

    ad for Bayer Pharmaceuticals with heroin listed as a sedative for coughs
    Bettmann / Bettmann Archive via Getty Images


    "Literally was sold in mail order catalogs by Sears."


    4. "All of the snow in The Wizard of Oz was asbestos. They used to sell it for your own Christmas tree at home, too; you'd just spray it out of a can."

    snow falling on Dorothy and the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz
    Loew's, Inc

    5. "Smoking. My grandmother's doctor prescribed smoking cigarettes. She was experiencing anxiety while she was pregnant with my mother (1951)."

    Cigarette ad
    Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

    6. "Radiation makeup."

    Apic / Getty Images, H.W. Cherry/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images


    "Yes! Radiation toothpaste, make-up, hair spray, deodorant...even health tonics to drink. There wasn't anything good ole radium couldn't cure with its magic glow."


    7. "There used to be [radiation] 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!"

    a shoe-fitting fluoroscope
    Creative Electron / YouTube / Via

    8. "Cocaine. I've heard it used to be used in place of caffeine and in certain medicines."

    vintage coca cola can and bottle
    Science & Society Picture Library / SSPL via Getty Images


    "It even used to be in Coca-Cola when it first appeared."


    9. "Playing with mercury from broken thermometers."

    mercury thermometer
    Tim Boyle / Getty Images

    10. "Lysol as a douche. Look it up."

    Lysol and a douche
    Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

    11. "Lobotomies."

    ad for lobotomies with a before and after schizophrenia patient looking happier after, calling them a "veritable household pet"
    yu/hotsk / Via


    "'Your very own family member as a pet': The very headlines that was used to glorify lobotomies back then."


    12. "Keeping/adding lead to gasoline. It was literally getting in the air causing people to behave more violently."

    motor fuel with a label saying it contains lead
    Robert Alexander / Getty Images

    13. "DDT. My mom said that the American military used to spray all the students (in post-war Japan) to get rid of lice."

    man spraying another man
    Bettmann / Bettmann Archive via Getty Images

    14. "Radium paint [was] used for glow in the dark clock hands. Women were hired to paint the clock hands, but were never told it was hazardous. Many suffered radiation poisoning."

    woman painting a clock
    Daily Herald Archive / SSPL via Getty Images

    15. "Teflon. Or the chemicals used in its production: C8. It’s present in every American’s blood."

    Frank Wiese/Allentown Morning Call/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

    16. "Benzene ... [was] used to make deacaffeinated coffee."

    cup of coffee
    Natasha Breen/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

    17. "Letting little kids sit in the front seat of the car. I remember being early elementary age and having fights with my younger sisters on who got to sit in the front seat."

    kid in front seat of a car
    Carl Sutton/Picture Post/Hulton Archive / Getty Images

    18. "Solid metal dashboards 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."

    neon vintage car with metal dashboard and thin wheel
    Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images


    19. "Mercurochrome used to be a common disinfectant all the way until the late '90s. It was banned in the US and several other countries due to its high mercury content. Skinned knee? Slather on some bright red Mercury liquid, heal you right up!"

    Mercurochrome with a bandage and gauze
    Sainam Poploy / Getty Images/iStockphoto

    20. "Lead paint."

    paint and a brush
    Anna Efetova / Getty Images


    "[I] used to be a childhood lead exposure nurse (probably the coolest job title I’ve had, tbh) and I had a client who was letting her grandchild eat lead paint chips in her garden after remodeling and had no idea why she had high levels of lead in her system."


    21. And finally..."Meth. In WWII Germany it was widely used among the general population and in the military."

    soldiers marching
    Stf / AFP via Getty Images

    "Some historians say the only reason their Blitzkrieg campaign was so successful was because the soldiers were so hopped up on meth. There are stories of Allied commanders freaking out because the German ground forces arrived faster than humanly possible, completely overwhelming the unprepared French forces. Aside from the military, it was apparently very common for the general population to pop a Pervitin (their brand name for methamphetamine) if they were feeling a little tired, or needed to clean for a house party, etc."


    Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.

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