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25 Infamous Health Scares You Shouldn’t Worry About

Cell Phones

If you’re reading this on your phone, you’re at risk. Don’t you know that cell phones cause cancer? Even though there is no evidence to support this claim? Even though the evidence actually contradicts this claim? So, put your phone down so you can stay cancer-free.

Ebola

First identified in Africa in 2014, Ebola has done some serious harm throughout the world. A few years ago, there was a major health scare in the states, making it seem like if you left the house, you would contract it and die. Well, in April of 2016, there were a full 4 cases of Americans with Ebola with 1 death. In the face of 327.5 million Americans, it’s probably safe to assume that we’re in the clear. 

Swine Flu

About a decade ago, H1N1, also known as Swine Flu, flared up in Mexico City. It had been seen before, and so people were scared. It then spread to every American state and almost every nation in the world. Less than 1% of the infected population died, however.

Nuclear Fallout

World War 2 introduced the world to nuclear power. The Cold War then took those fears, stoked the flames, and then inspired the world to cower in fear. Nuclear fallout would ruin us all. And yes, nuclear warfare would be catastrophic, but there were some weird ideas that floated around. For example, there was a period where it was believed that nuclear fallout created three-armed monsters, massive animals, and freakish beasts. This should stay in the story-books because we now know it’s not true.

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SARS

In 2002, a deadly strain of pneumonia spread from China. Thousands of people were infected in 24 different countries. It took some work, namely a lot of quarantining and rigorous screening of aircraft passengers, but eventually the outbreak ground to a halt. A total of 8 Americans were infected.

BPA

Although people have used plastic with bisphenol A for 60 years, people have recently begun freaking out about plastic, using plastic, and especially reusing plastic. It gives cancer, they say. Despite the numerous amounts of research arguing that it’s fine.

HIV / AIDS

In 1980s, AIDS was declared an epidemic. It has gone on to affect millions of people in the world and has killed a large number. In the ‘80s, it was thought that AIDS could only be spread by the gay community, and they were shunned as a result. Now, we know that AIDS can affect anybody, but we also know ways to help prevent the spread. It is still oppressive in Africa, but it didn't destroy the world like scientist thought it would in the '80s.

MRSA

MRSA is a strain of common bacteria that have grown resistant to antibiotics. It is a vicious thing to come down with, and it’s often found in hospitals. Luckily, it can largely be avoided with proper hygiene procedures.

Thalidomide

In 1958, a German scientist created a drug to help women with morning sickness. This drug, as it turns out, also prohibited growth, so when it was administered to pregnant women, thousands of people were affected. Babies were being born with malformed limbs. As a result, the drug was largely outlawed. Now, it’s still (controversial) used as a treatment for skin conditions and cancer.

BSE

This disease is always fatal. Sometimes the symptoms don’t show up for decades, but when they do, it’s not pretty. And how do you get it? From your food. Specifically, from cows. A disease known as Mad Cow Disease spread through the UK in the ‘90s, but their beef is now banned. Systems are in place to prevent its spread, so go ahead, eat a burger.

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DDT

DDT was an insecticide popular just after World War 2 that was supposed to solve all kinds of pest problems. It ended up being linked to cancer, infertility, miscarriages, and nervous system damage. Luckily for us, DDT was banned way back in 1972.

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Genetically Modified Foods

Somehow, people got it in their head that if we genetically modify foods, we’d end up having banana-strawberry hybrids or blueberry-raspberry monstrosities. Even if that was how GM foods worked, it would just make flavoring your smoothie easier. Sadly, GM Foods largely just make them resistant to pests, making it easier for them to grow more while charging us less.

Asbestos

At first, it seemed like a great way to insulate homes. It could make stronger cloths, cement, and plastic. It could lodge itself in your body and cause disease. Wait, what? Before we knew the harms of asbestos, we used it everywhere. Then we found out, and we now recognize it as hazardous.

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MMR Vaccine

MMR was first introduced back in the ‘60s. It was a great way to vaccinate against measles, mumps, and rubella. Then, people got it in their head that it caused Autism. Don’t worry. It doesn’t. Read the science.

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Bird Flu

At the beginning of this century, people began freaking out about H5N1, a virus that killed millions of birds. It was dubbed the “Bird Flu”, and caused a few human infections were in rural areas continents away. At the time, medical officials forecasted 150 million deaths. Then, the U. S. National Library of Medicine said that Bird Flu was scary because of its potential, not because it had done anything of significance yet. On that note, let’s all freak out about earthquakes, not because we know they’ll happen in our neighborhood but because they might happen.

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Nitrites

Do you eat hot dogs on the 4th? Or ham sandwiches at lunch? Or bacon every chance you get? Well you’re probably going to die from cancer. So, since you’re already done for, might as well go down eating bacon.

Aspartame

Aspartame is just a sweetener. You use it in your coffee like you would Splenda or honey. Some people have made claims that it causes everything from headaches to cancer. They claim it does most every negative thing you can imagine a food doing, but really, it just makes your morning cup of joe a little better.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Do you wash your hair? With shampoo? If so, you might be at risk for cancer! Or, that’s the rumor that was going around about shampoos containing sodium lauryl sulfate back in the ‘90s. This myth was debunked. The chemical was confirmed as an irritant, but a cancerous substance? No.

Power Lines

In the late ‘70s, a study came out that claimed that living in close proximity to power lines caused cancer. This was debated, and considering we all still live surrounded by wires, the results speak for themselves. We’re fine.

Lead Paint

In 2007, the U.S. recalled 1.5 million toys from a Thomas the Train toy set. They were manufactured in China with lead paint, alongside some toy drums and toy bears. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about toys anymore. We just give our children iPads.

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Trans Fats

When it was revealed that trans fats weren’t that good for you, the health world freaked out. They were in everything! The FDA began a long process of testing and eventually began blocking the fat. They did so too late, though. Many restaurants simply swapped trans fats for saturated fats (which are only marginally better) and continued on their merry way.

Anthrax

After several government officials were poisoned with anthrax in their mail in the time just after 9/11, people began to fear getting mail. Luckily, e-mail was in full swing, and it’s hard to poison someone through a computer.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

We all know high-fructose corn syrup is bad for you, but let’s be honest. You’re drinking soda. You already know it’s not good for you anyway, so does it really matter?

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Foot and Mouth Outbreak

While this disease has a terrible name, it’s extremely practical. Before the ban on British beef, people eating it would get rashes on their hands and feet and sores in their mouth. Luckily for you, the British don’t produce beef anymore, and even if they did, you’re what you’re eating probably came from Texas. There’s literally nothing to worry about.

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WebMD

The biggest ongoing health scare of the modern era is WebMD. Do you have a runny nose? You’re probably going to die. A headache? It’s probably cancer. Well, according to WebMD. It seems to make everything seem significantly worse, but really, you just need to take some Sudafed.