20 Things That Were Cool in the ‘70s But Are Now Banned for Safety Issues

Photo of author

By Darryl Henderson

It’s safe to say that many things you used to do or things you used to play with don’t exist anymore. Rather than fading into obscurity, the reason for that is mainly due to health and safety risks that resulted in new regulations. Here are 20 of those things that are now banned.

Toy Chemistry Sets

Photo Credit: Elena Chevalier/Shutterstock

Was it really worth the risk to play at being a scientist? There’s no doubt all those chemicals, flasks, and burners were extremely cool – but they were also extremely risky. Thanks to those particularly potent chemicals, such as potassium nitrate, these sorts of sets are now banned.

Playing on Train Tracks

Photo Credit: Liz Kcer/Shutterstock

Thanks to iconic movies like Stand By Me, there was something nostalgic about adventuring on train tracks when you were a child, innocent of the terrible danger. It’s now illegal. According to Fox News, trespassing on train tracks is considered by the U.S. government to be the top cause of rail-related deaths.

Candy Cigarettes

Photo Credit: The Image Party/Shutterstock

Remember how cool you felt holding a candy cigarette and pretending it was real? It was an innocent act – and they also tasted good – but you couldn’t get away with that these days. The FDA banned the production of candy cigarettes in recent years to avoid encouraging smoking among children.


Photo Credit: Hariyanto teng/Shutterstock

Clackers always seemed like a simple enough game: you knocked two balls together on a string and tried to do it faster than all your friends. But the balls were made from tempered glass, which meant knocking them together was particularly dangerous. They were eventually banned in the late ‘80s.

Heavy Metal Fireworks

Photo Credit: Eric Glenn/Shutterstock

Fireworks are still legal, luckily, so you don’t need to worry about your 4th July celebrations. However, older fireworks that were popular in the ‘70s were made from heavy metals: lead, titanium, and copper. These types of fireworks are now banned, at least in the state of Hawaii.

Flame Retardants

Photo Credit: il21/Shutterstock

Flame retardants like PCBs were used in the 1970s to protect furniture from becoming flammable. This meant most mattresses, fabric coverings, and carpets had flame retardants in them. However, these chemicals were found to be toxic, so they were banned in 1979.

Toy Guns

Photo Credit: Franck Boston/Shutterstock

Toy gunfights were a traditional part of most people’s childhood. Yet they’re now banned unless they have a bright tip or color because of the danger of appearing to be real guns. Sky News reports how a teenager was shot by police because he was holding a toy gun.

Smoking on Airplanes

Photo Credit: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock

We know that smoking anywhere used to be the norm, but it was particularly common on airplanes. There was even a designated smoking section for those passengers. It was then banned completely in 2000 due to the fire risks from cigarette butts or smoke getting into the vents.


Photo Credit: Anastasia_Panait/Shutterstock

Caviar has always been associated with luxury dining, and in the 1970s, beluga and sevruga caviars were particularly expensive. These specific caviar, though, have now been banned due to the Fish and Wildlife Service working to protect wild sturgeon.

Metal Playgrounds

Photo Credit: MakeStory Studio / Shutterstock

Looking back, it’s hard to see why we thought that red-hot steel slides or dangerously sharp climbing frames were a good idea – but we played on them anyway. Luckily, authorities realized how dangerous metal playgrounds really could be, and playgrounds have now become softer and safer.

Lawn Darts

Photo Credit: DrKing/Shutterstock

Lawn darts were eventually banned due to the potential of injury, thanks to those sharp tips. In the late 90s, the Consumer Product Safety Commission released information on three deaths caused by lawn darts, with a warning that some people may still have access to them after the ban.

Real Tire Swings

Photo Credit: Cvetkova Elina/Shutterstock

Tire swings were one of the most exciting parts of the playground or back garden for children in the 70s, and it seemed like a great way to reuse an old tire. Sadly, the reality of insects and mold being attracted to real tires meant that they were soon banned in the US.

Swing Bikes

Photo Credit: Sergii Figurnyi/Shutterstock

Swing bikes were a popular choice for kids who wanted to use their bikes for more than just transportation, mainly for showing off impressive stunts. However, they were eventually discontinued in the late ‘70s due to reports of accidents and problems with the steering.

Tobacco Product Advertising

Photo Credit: Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

As we know, smoking and tobacco used to be the norm, so seeing advertisements for tobacco products was also a regular occurrence. However, as soon as regulations and bans began to come into place for smoking in the ‘70s, tobacco advertisements were also banned.

Lead-Based Paint

Photo Credit: Nadia Chi/Shutterstock

Lead-based paint used to be very popular for interior decorating because it was much cheaper than other varieties of paint. It also lasted longer, so your money was well spent—at least until it was banned in 1978. The ban was due to the health risks of lead-based paint, including high blood pressure.

Easy Bake Ovens

Photo Credit: Alexey Borodin/Shutterstock

The Easy Bake Oven was a popular choice for children – and it was a fun device to use. That is until it began burning any child who used it. In 2007, they were banned, and the CBC reports that there were “29 incidents in which children’s fingers or hands became trapped in the ovens”, too.

Trans Fats

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Trans fats were officially banned by the FDA in recent years due to the health risks they posed, including type 2 diabetes and heart attacks. Trans fats were originally a way to make manufacturing less expensive due to hydrogen being added to the oils, as well as having a longer shelf life.

Super Elastic Bubble Plastics

Photo Credit: Hendra Karta Negara/Shutterstock

Super elastic bubble plastics were very thin rubbers that you could blow into a large ball like a balloon. While you might think it was the bubble plastic itself that caused a choking risk, they were actually banned in certain places because of the chemicals in it that caused dizziness and hallucinations.


Photo Credit: RPW de Jong/Shutterstock

In the 1970s, asbestos was present in pretty much every home, as it was the mineral of choice for home roofing. It was popular due to its fire-resistant qualities. Research then uncovered that asbestos could lead to various forms of cancer for the people exposed to it. Since then, asbestos use has been restricted.

Plastic Microbeads

Photo Credit: KYTan/Shutterstock

Plastic microbeads were found in many cosmetics and makeup products in the 1970s. Those using these products weren’t even aware that their contents could have been fatal. While plastic microbeads were included as an exfoliant, the truth came to light regarding their toxicity, and they were eventually banned.

Up Next: 20 Things Your Boss Is Legally Forbidden to Ask of You

Photo Credit: Andrii Iemelianenko/Shutterstock

The workplace can be scary enough as it is without awkward questions from your boss. Thankfully, you can often legally refuse to answer these questions, just like with the following 20 things your boss is legally forbidden to ask of you.


18 Things Older People Realize Aren’t Worth Their Time or Energy

Photo Credit: Andrii Iemelianenko/Shutterstock

As you age, the things that once occupied your mind soon become trivial, causing you to accept that some things just aren’t worth worrying about. There are too many to list, but here are 18 things that older people realize are not worth their time or energy.


19 Common Behaviors of Highly Intelligent People

Photo Credit: Stock 4you/Shutterstock

Highly intelligent people tend to be complex individuals with multiple unique behavioral traits in their personalities. Some are easy to spot, and some are more nuanced, but regardless, here are 19 common behaviors that highly intelligent people will often exhibit.