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(io9)   Radioactive products from the last century: toothpaste, chocolate, suppositories. What were we thinking?   ( divider line
    More: Scary, Nuclear fission product, chocolate bars, chocolates, radium, clock faces  
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7140 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 May 2013 at 4:27 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-05-10 05:58:44 AM  
4 votes:

chrylis: Nice try.  I'm not frightened of genetic engineering generally, and I'm usually the one pointing out that humans have been selectively breeding and even crossbreeding for millennia

Then why are you afraid of technology that has been developed and used since the late 1950s? Curious, this...

chrylis: but it seems to me that if we're going to have a massive bureaucracy telling us what sorts of things we can and can't put in our body regardless of how well-informed we are, at least direct insertions from crops humans haven't traditionally consumed should have some level of eye kept on them.

Except that GMO crops that are used for human consumption  have to be approved by the FDA through their vetting process.

chrylis: But was that because of the FDA?  I'm perfectly interested in seeing evidence to that effect, but just like air and water were on a dramatically cleaner trajectory well before the Clean Stuff Acts were passed, and federal and state statutory regulations may actually have interfered with getting some waterways cleaned up, increased prosperity and public awareness were already driving improvements in food safety at that time.


Yes, I can.

Please observe. And go read a damn history textbook. Your statement that "things were on a better trajectory" is demonstrably false with even a cursory review of the literature of the time. Patent drugs were legally sold which claimed to outright cure X and Y, and did nothing of the sort while containing toxic ingredients, like arsenic, cyanide, and industrial chemicals which were fatal to the people that took them, or contained addicting substances like Cocaine or Heroin.

ushistoryscene.comView Full Size

chrylis: Furthermore, how do you account for the harm done by preventing safe, effective medical treatments from being made available in the United States because I can't choose to use unapproved drugs at my own risk like I can use non-UL electronics?

Because of Elixir of Sulfanilamide and Thalidomide. Among others. And what you are describing amounts to pseudoscientific research on your own body, which is utterly meaningless and unethical.
2013-05-10 05:09:53 AM  
3 votes:

UsikFark: pellies: Are you implying that no oversight has a better history?

Industry will voluntarily correct their actions after education about regulations. Companies large and small adhere to best practices.

I envy you in you ignorant bliss

/because lead and asbestos are so healthy, we've globally stopped using it completely
//people and companies will use what's cheapest (or most gimmicky) to get the job done, whether short term our long term if they can get away with it
2013-05-10 02:25:00 AM  
3 votes:
And people wonder why the FDA is necessary.

I tend to believe people who say that got an F in history class
2013-05-10 07:51:03 AM  
2 votes:
upload.wikimedia.orgView Full Size

Shoe Fluoroscope. Just in case your kid is lying about the shoes fitting just so he can get out of the damn shoe store.
2013-05-10 11:37:53 AM  
1 vote:

Tom_Slick: [ image 570x428]

Uranium really picks up your morning cup of coffee

The worst thing about Fiestaware wasn't the uranium, which stayed pretty much in place, but the lead in the paint that would leach into the food you were eating and would permanently dissolve you mind.

The picture of the Revigator they had wasn't very good.  There were some really rare, early Revigators that came before this, but the classic Revigator had a small metal stand and a lid.  You can just barely see the stand at the bottom of this one that's selling on eBay for a little under $300.  The picture makes it look a little lighter in color than it really is.
i43.tinypic.comView Full Size

Later in the 1920s they came up with a pure-white Revigator.  This Revigator had stubby legs that was just an extension of the pot and a black, oval sticker was near the top.
farm7.staticflickr.comView Full Size

One of these days I'd like to own a classic Revigator but every time I see one on eBay I think, "Aren't there better things you could do with $250 than buy a radioactive samovar?"

One thing the article missed was Depression Glass (made during the Great Depression) or Vaseline Glass because it was someone transparent.  It has a little uranium in it for color.
farm6.staticflickr.comView Full Size

farm9.staticflickr.comView Full Size

Yes it's green but it doesn't really glow unless you put a blacklight on it.
2013-05-10 09:01:52 AM  
1 vote:

big pig peaches: Of course I could still  argue about prophylactic use of Antibiotics in cattles farming which is, how you put it "gratuitous and non targeted"

Agree completely.
2013-05-10 08:54:05 AM  
1 vote:

StrikitRich: You're all assuming that pure Fluoride is being used in the water and not Fluoride that came as a by-product of 1940s-50s atomic bomb manufacture.

The longest lived synthetic isotope of fluorine is 18Fl, half-life of 110 minutes. After 50 years, we're talking 2^(-239,000) concentrations.

 For comparison's sake, if the entire visible universe (~10^82 molecules, give or take a few orders of magnitude) were made of  18Fl atoms, we'd expect there to be no  18Fl atoms anywhere in roughly 21 days.
2013-05-10 08:24:46 AM  
1 vote:
I wish they still sold these:
encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.comView Full Size
2013-05-10 08:24:44 AM  
1 vote:

computerguyUT: Fearmongering at it's finest.

Here's a few other things that are still radioactive...
Granite (A trip to Washington DC is the equivalent of a chest x-ray which explains why our politicians are so damned stupid)
Orange ceramic glaze will give a geiger counter an aneurysm.
Your partner (yes, your sleeping partner gives you a significant dose or Potassium 40 radiation over an extended period of time.)
Your basement

Some Granite
Only the Fiestaware from the 40s
"over an extended period of time" can be applied to most things
I am not going into space
Some basements

You did the opposite of the article: over-pooh-poohed radiation. We have radiation in our environment all around us. Deliberately putting products designed to have a significant radioactive dose on or in your body is generally not a good idea.

Fun fact: alpha radiation is completely harmless if external to the body. Ingested, it is THE most dangerous radioactive particle.
2013-05-10 08:09:42 AM  
1 vote:
Why the hell do we need the FDA in our business? Food safety should be market driven. If a particular product turns out to cause rectal bleeding, bones loss, or chronic death, people will stop buying those products, and the companies will lose money. There is no company interested in killing their customers because dead/disabled customers don't buy their product. So it's in a company's best interest to produce the safest product possible. People didn't understand the dangers of radium back then. You can't fault a company for that. Are they supposed to do years of product safety testing on something no one understands while their competitor beats them to market?

Look at tabacco. At the time, it was believed to be good for you, according to science of the day. Many doctors agreed that it was actualy benificial. In the 50s, when people started to question the safety of cigarettes, the companies did the right thing, and hired doctors and scientists to test their product to see if it was safe, and they all found it was. Now that we know better, tobacco companies have taken steps to ensure a safer smoke, by adding filters and soothing menthol.
2013-05-10 08:07:42 AM  
1 vote:

StrikitRich: And today we continue to pollute our precious bodily fluids with fluoride, which is slightly radioactive.

I call BS: Fluorine occurs naturally on Earth exclusively in the form of its only stable isotope, 19F.
2013-05-10 07:56:26 AM  
1 vote:

StrikitRich: And today we continue to pollute our precious bodily fluids with fluoride, which is slightly radioactive.

Shut up, mandrake.
2013-05-10 07:09:41 AM  
1 vote:

big pig peaches: In the next century I wonder what they will be asking that question about. Antibiotics probably.

Except that, unlike gratuitous and non targeted use of radiation, antibiotics have literally saved trillions of lives around the world.

In 1900, 5 of the 10 top causes of Death in the United States were from infectious disease.

In 1939, when Antibiotics began to be widely used, but before the widespread use of Penicillin, Pneumonia was still the 5th leading cause of Death.
2013-05-10 05:39:51 AM  
1 vote:
As much as I want to laugh at the ignorance of the time period, we currently produce over 1000 new chemical compounds every year. The percentage of those that are thoroughly tested before being put into use is woefully small.
2013-05-10 05:10:30 AM  
1 vote:

chrylis: You'd have a point if the FDA didn't have an unacceptably high rate of both type 1 and type 2 errors. I'm skeptical about the proteins in aggressively bred dwarf wheat, to say nothing of GMOs, and I'd really like to try sublingual immunotherapy.

Ah, the good old fashioned "Perfect World" fallacy.

Yes. We get that GMOs frighten you, Simple Caveman Lawyer. It still makes the FDA far better than a world of no regulation, and FAR FAR better than what it was when the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1907 was put into law.
2013-05-10 05:00:55 AM  
1 vote:
And how we have homeopathy, chiropractors, and Jenny McCarthy to deal with. Bad crap never goes away, it just changes it's spots.
2013-05-10 04:46:36 AM  
1 vote:
From another article on Radithor:

Eben Byers, a 49-year-old wealthy Pittsburgh industrialist, was looking to ease the chronic pain he was having in his arm. The year was 1927, and Eben was advised by his doctor to try a powerful new drug to cure his pain: Radithor. He became hooked. It appeared to not only heal his pain, but seemingly rekindled his sexual vitality.

It was two and a half years after regular use of Radithor, when Eben began complaining of chronic headaches and weight loss. Shortly thereafter, his teeth fell out, holes formed in his skull, and his mouth literally collapsed. Covering Eben's case, an article in the Wall Street Journal ran the headline: "The Radium Water Worked Fine Until His Jaw Came Off."
2013-05-10 04:36:54 AM  
1 vote:
You can still have fun with radioactivity today.  Go out and buy a big bag of Brazil nuts (which are seeds BTW, not nuts) and take them with you in your pocket to the visitors centre of any nuclear power plant and watch what happens - Brazil nuts are naturally radioactive and have a half-life of 1.2 billion years - you'll be saying "unplanned scrub shower" before you know it.  Bananas are also radioactive but not quite as likely to set off radiation alarms.
2013-05-09 08:01:07 PM  
1 vote:
Radium Hand Cleaner - "It Takes Off Everything But The Skin"Give it time. The skin will eventually follow.
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