15 Totally Safe Things That Everyone Used To Think Were Deadly

1. Air conditioning

Senator John Rankin feared cold rooms way back in 1929, saying they were full of “Republican atmosphere, and it is enough to kill anyone if it continues.” Turns out, air conditioning actually saves lives.


2. Where’s Waldo?

A child once found a particularly exposed breast in a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ book, and his parents were successful in getting it banned from the school library. They thought it would corrupt the poor boy and all his innocent friends.

3. Writing letters

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In the late 1800s people were concerned that promiscuous women would write letters to young men, corrupting them.

4. Dungeons and Dragons

Mothers were concerned young men were spending too much time on the game, causing them to lose jobs and friends. They soon realised it was only an obsessed few that this was happening to.


5. Tomatoes

When green tomato worms started infesting tomatoes back in the 1800s people started to fear them. As it turned out, neither the worms nor the tomatoes were poisonous.


6. Licking stamps

In the 1920s, people thought that stamps were full of bacteria and harmful to humans. They were wrong.

7. Public toilets

People used to think you could catch STDs from public toilet seats. Turns out that’s almost impossible.


8. Watching TV

Because of a factory error, some TVs in the sixties were emitting up to 100,000 times the normal radiation levels. The public went into a frenzy, thinking everyone would turn into zombies. They didn’t.


9. Dancing

Yep, Footloose had it right. All forms of dancing were at one point considered scandalous, but we now know dancing doesn’t pose a significant risk to our health.

10. Clothing

A scientist once claimed that non-breathable fabric could kill, because we breathe through our lungs and our skin. That was in 1901, and no one’s died from this cause yet, that we know of.


11. Drinking tea

Back in 19th century Ireland people thought that women taking tea breaks were using the time to hatch a plan to overthrow the government. This may have been the case, but it didn’t come to anything.


12. Women’s sports

People in the 1920s thought that women who played sports would never find husbands. Now, we know many married professional sports players, so you shouldn’t be too concerned.

13. Public transport

It was once believed that bacteria on handrails on public transport was deadly. Although we recommend hand sanitiser, we’re pretty sure that dirty subway carriage isn’t going to kill you.


14. The color purple

An article from a 1903 was titled “Dangerous Tints: Some Colors Will Drive a Person Mad if the Eyes are Continually Looking at Them” and cited purple as the most dangerous color.


15. Chewing gum

People used to think swallowing gum could block your intestines. While it’s probably not good for you, that gum isn’t going to hang around in your intestines for 7 years.