19 Things That Were Cool in the ’70s But Are Now Banned for Safety Reasons

Living in the ‘70s was worlds away from today, especially when it comes to health and safety. From toys that risked our lives to casual smoking, it’s sometimes surprising we survived! They were great memories though, just like these 19 things that were cool in the ‘70s but are now banned for safety reasons.

Hazardous chemistry sets

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Chemistry sets were an incredibly popular gift in the ‘70s. With chemicals like potassium nitrate, copper sulfate, and iodine, we could blow things up and make stink bombs. Now, these dangerous chemicals are banned, and today’s chemistry sets are a lot more tame.


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Jarts were well-loved in the backyards of the ‘70s. We had endless fun with this outdoor version of darts, but Jarts were highly dangerous. These steel-tipped lawn darts were sharp enough to pierce the skin, and after thousands of reported injuries plus a handful of deaths, they were banned from sale in 1988.

Candy cigarettes

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Before we fully understood the health risks of smoking, it was perceived as cool in the 1970s. As kids, we played with candy cigarettes, pretending to be adults puffing away. Understandably, they were eventually banned in 2009 by the FDA after NCBI found they encourage smoking in children.

Super Elastic Bubble Plastic

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Introduced in 1970, Super Elastic Bubble Plastic was a craze that took our childhood by storm. We would blow this plastic goo into giant bubbles, providing endless entertainment. However, it was later discovered that the chemicals in it had negative health effects, including hallucinations, dizziness, and muscle twitches!

Trans Fats

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In the ‘70s, a lot of our food contained trans fats, and we thought they were great. For manufacturers, this cut down production costs, while for consumers, products lasted longer. Regrettably, it was later discovered that these oils are linked to diabetes, strokes, and heart disease, leading to most states banning trans fats.

Playing on train tracks

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We were never naive enough not to know that playing on train tracks was dangerous, but we still did it because we thought it was cool. It was super common in the ‘70s, and it wasn’t until 2011 that this was made illegal in the US and deemed as trespassing.

Real tire swings

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Kids of the ‘70s loved tire swings, and we would even make our own in the backyard with old discarded tires. However, tire swings made from real tires were banned in the US due to safety concerns, as they are a breeding ground for insects and mold, making them a health issue.

Airplane smoking

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Smoking was so normal in the ‘70s that you could light up anywhere and everywhere, including on planes, which is hard to imagine now. Business Insider remembers that airplane smoking was banned back in 2000, and it’s really not difficult to understand why!


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Microbeads were introduced into skincare in the late ‘60s, and by the ‘70s, we were in love. Designed as an exfoliator, microbeads enhanced our skincare routine perfectly, but they turned out to be highly toxic! They could even scar the skin and cause vision problems, so in 2015, they were banned.


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A popular toy of the ‘70s, playing with Clackers came with risk. Two balls and a heavy string made up this simple toy, yet everyone was learning tricks. However, injuries were common as you could get hit or your fingers pinched, or worse, the clackers could break, sending projectile shards in all directions.

Swing bikes

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Swing bikes were super popular in the ‘70s and a must-have for anyone in middle school. Designed for performing stunts, many kids used them as their daily transportation to school. However, with difficult steering and a second axis, accidents were common, leading to their discontinuation in 1978.

Metal slides

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The playgrounds of the ‘70s were all metal, but you will struggle to find them these days. Metal slides were the main hazard and are now banned as playground equipment. TF Harper justifies this decision, explaining that metal slides become dangerously hot when exposed to the sun and can cause third-degree burns.

Lead-based paint

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Lead-based paint was extremely popular in the ‘70s due to its vibrancy, affordability, and ability to be cleaned. However, by 1978, it was unsurprisingly banned due to its toxicity, linked to health conditions such as high blood pressure and even problems with motor skills.

Tobacco advertising

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Back when smoking was more popular, tobacco advertising was everywhere; we thought it was so cool, and it was a real encouragement to smoke. In the ‘70s, it slowly began disappearing from screens, and whilst smoking is still legal, advertising tobacco products is now strictly prohibited and has been since 2003.

Easy Bake Ovens

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Easy Bake Ovens were a childhood staple for generations, particularly popular in the ‘70s. Anyone who had one will have received a burn at some point, which is enough to spark concerns as a toy. Outrageously, it wasn’t until 2007, when a girl’s finger had to be amputated, that they were banned.

Creepy Crawlers

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Thingmaker’s Creepy Crawlers is said to be one of the most dangerous toys ever invented. This bizarre toy allowed you to make molds of spiders and bugs using an extremely hot oven. Not only was the heat a hazard, but OAL Law states that its liquid plastics were highly toxic.

The Ford Pinto

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The safety features of vehicles today would have seemed insane in the ‘70s, with many cars categorically unsafe by today’s standards. However, the Ford Pinto was next level, often known as one of the most dangerous vehicles of all time due to fuel system defects that could cause the car to explode!

Toy guns

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Today’s toy guns are very different from those of our youth. The imitation firearms of the ‘70s were unsurprisingly banned, and federal law states that today’s toy guns must be marked by a distinctive orange barrel tip. This is to prevent them from being mistaken for the real thing, an undeniably wise idea.

An animal circus

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Finally, when the circus rolled into town, we couldn’t wait to see some performing monkeys, but they’re now banned for both public safety and to protect animal welfare under the Federal Circus Bill. That’s probably for the best, both to protect the animals and audience members.

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