Not All Inventions Are Created Equal
Usually, new inventions are a positive thing. They save us time, energy, and money. They make our lives easier – which is why if you make a popular invention, you can become stinking rich.
However, not all inventions are good for mankind. In fact, some have been so bad for us that the damage has been irreversible.
Below, we document the 7 worst inventions of all time:
Invented by Thomas Midgley Jr, CFCs stand for Chlorofluorocarbons. They are chemicals that contain carbon, fluorine, and chlorine. They are used in everything from hairsprays to refrigeration.
CFC’s are terrible for the environment, not because they’re toxic, but because they deplete the ozone layer.
In fact, a study by the University of Waterloo claims that CFC’s, and not Carbon Dioxide (CO2), are the primary cause of global warming.
Luckily, today many people are aware of the dangers of CFC’s, and many products actively advertise that they don’t contain them.
Worldwide production of CFC’s has gone down, which is good news for everyone.
However, Thomas Midgley didn’t just create CFC’s, he also created leaded gasoline. Some people believe he is the individual who has had the single worst impact on the environment in history.
At least he was killed by one of his own inventions.
2) Depleted Uranium Munitions
Depleted uranium is a waste product of the nuclear power industry. It is a radioactive substance that is 1.7 times denser than lead.
As a result of its density, it a popular choice to manufacture munitions out of, primarily anti-tank rounds.
When DU hits a metal target, it liquefies into millions of tiny, sharp metal pieces that all but obliterate their target. There is no doubt DU is an effective material.
However, there is a downside to DU: it’s radioactivity. The use of Depleted Uranium converts the battlefield into a radioactive wasteland. The Uranium breaks into pieces so small that they are easily scattered by wind and rain.
These Depleted Uranium bits have a half-life of 4.5 billion years. They’ll be here long after we’re gone.
These DU bits are so tiny they can be inhaled, ingested, or even absorbed through tiny pores in the skin.
They have been linked to birth defects, cancer, and other health problems.
Before the Iraq war, Iraq’s rate of cancer was 40 per 100,000. After the war, their cancer rates skyrocketed to 800 per 100,000.
And it isn’t just Iraqi civilians exposed to the radiation, but US soldiers as well.
It is very likely that Depleted Uranium was responsible for the infamous Gulf War Syndrome in the early 1990’s.
As a matter of fact, Depleted Uranium is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.
Regardless, the United States and Great Britain continue to use the substance in their weapons and show no sign of slowing down.
In the 90’s Olestra was set to revolutionize the snack and chip industry. It was an oil you could deep fry foods in that your body didn’t absorb.
Fatty snacks and no weight gain?? It sounded too good to be true, and it was.
Unfortunately, when Olestra passed through the body it also took key vitamins and minerals with it.
Additionally, Olestra caused cramping and diarrhea. No one wants to buy a product with the warning “may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools.” No, thank you!
After a while, sales dropped and the product was banned in the US and Europe.
Today, Olestra is used as an industrial lubricant and ingredient in paint. Yummy.
4) Agent Orange
Like Depleted Uranium, Agent Orange is another wartime weapon with significant negative effects.
It was a defoliant, meaning it killed trees and other shrubbery. It was meant to deny the Viet Cong their cover in the jungle, as well as their food supply.
The British were the first to use this technique in Malaysia, and the US followed suit a decade later in Vietnam.
Agent Orange contains Dioxin, a deadly substance that causes cancer, birth defects, and many other illnesses.
Thousands of Vietnamese and US Veterans were exposed and affected by the compound. To this day, Vietnam remains ravaged by the substance.
Luckily, the use of the compound ended in 1970, but by then it was too late.
Irreperable damage to Vietnam, the environment, and our veterans had already been done.
DDT, which stands for dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, was a pesticide widely used in between the 1940’s to the 1970’s.
DDT caused widespread ecological damage, including bringing the Bald Eagle to the brink of extinction. This was because the compound caused their egg shells to thin, dramatically reducing their birth rates.
In 1972, the EPA banned DDT. Since then, Bald Eagles have made a remarkable comeback. Unfortunately, the chemical still persists in our environment, and in our food.
It also has an adverse effect on humans, causing cancer and other illnesses. It has even been linked to Alzheimer’s.
We don’t seem to have learned our lesson, as we still use pesticides that harm our environment.
Landmines are explosives buried in the ground. They are triggered by pressure, such as when someone steps on them, or a vehicle drives over them.
The worst part about landmines is that they can remain in an area long after a conflict ends. And they kill and maim indiscriminately, they do not distinguish between soldiers, civilians, and animals.
It is estimated that 1 million people have been killed by landmines, and around 70 people are killed or injured by them every day.
The countries most affected by landmines include Afghanistan, Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola, and Sri Lanka.
7) Sarin Gas
Sarin Gas is a nerve gas discovered in 1938 by German chemist Dr. Gerhard Schrader. He was trying to create an insecticide when he accidentally created the deadly substance.
It can be weaponized and used as a weapon of mass destruction.
It works by attacking the Central Nervous System. Upon first exposure, our muscles and secretions start going nuts. They spasm and fire. The nose and eyes begin to run, we begin to vomit and lose control of our bladders and bowels.
The chest tightens, eyes blur, and death or paralysis can occur within minutes.
Unfortunately, Sarin Gas has no distinguishable sight or smell. So you may not know even know what hit you.
Sarin Gas has been used by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds, and most recently in Syria.
Hopefully, it is never used again.