I don't remember playing with mercury....but now if a fluorescent bulb breaks they close off a two block radius.
A few others:
Food and medicine was not "Sealed for our protection." Aspirin, mouthwash, orange juice...milk...and yes, Tylenol was not hermetically sealed. That changed in 1982.
I remember candy cigarettes at the convenience store.
"Is that toddler smoking?"
"No, that's just harmless candy sweetened with corn syrup and colored with Red Dye #2."
"Oh, that's a relief. I was worried he was smoking a Lucky Strike."
"He can't smoke until he is 15 because it might stunt his growth."
Old TV sets were dangerous. In the 50s, they emitted quite a bit of radiation in the form of x-rays. That was reduced by the 70s, but the sets of that era were often housed in ornate consoles of real wood.
The back of my parents' old console TV set (early 70s vintage with vacuum tubes---no solid state for them) was filled with warnings and symbols of danger.
There was the skull and crossbones and several electrical bolts.
As a foolhardy little kid (maybe 4 years old?) I just had to open it up. Once when my mom took a nap, I sneaked behind the set and pulled the back cover off. It was easy to do since TVs back then needed regular service. I looked around, but didn't touch anything. My mom woke up and saw me messing with the TV and yelled my full name to come out RIGHT THEN. Little did I know that those sets had capacitors storing thousands of volts. One wrong move and----I could have been electrocuted. Apparently my mom recoginzed that crucial fact.
Edited by Suwanee (07/19/13 01:24 PM)