MAY 27, 2017 1:54 PM PDT

History's Deadliest Colors

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Humans have always had a natural attraction to colors. We've used colors extensively in self-expression, in arts, jewelry, clothing, and more. In our technicolor world, the more color variety, the better it seems.

But in the quest to find the richest, most unique shades of pigment, humans have stumbled upon several compounds that, while visually stunning, turned out to be deadly. The trio of deadly colors include green, white, and orange.

One of the most dangerous compounds in the green category is radium. Soon after its discovery in 1898, people fell in love with the brilliant shade of flaming green it emitted. It was then incorporated into jewelry, makeup, and other commercial packaging. The deadly effects of this radioactive compound wasn't fully understood until many decades later. People exposed to this compound suffered from sores, anemia, and bone cancer.

Watch the video to learn more about the deadly effects of dazzling white (lead) and scintillating orange (uranium oxide) colors.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JAN 08, 2021
Neuroscience
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
JAN 08, 2021
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
Comedy-news shows such as those by Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee on the rise and are especially popular amo ...
MAR 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Study Highlights Importance of Chinook Salmon to Endangered Orcas
MAR 09, 2021
Study Highlights Importance of Chinook Salmon to Endangered Orcas
Many issues plague the iconic orcas of the Pacific Northwest United States, including declining salmon populations. ...
MAY 23, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Why Do Some Stars Vanish from Space?
MAY 23, 2021
Why Do Some Stars Vanish from Space?
Current theories suggest that stars undergo changes on timescales of millions or billions of years, and that their end i ...
MAY 30, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
MAY 30, 2021
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
A detailed cross-section of another galaxy, known as YGC 10738, has cast previous ideas of how the Milky Way was formed ...
JUL 05, 2021
Plants & Animals
Why Are Some Fish Warm-Blooded? A Need for Speed
JUL 05, 2021
Why Are Some Fish Warm-Blooded? A Need for Speed
Great white sharks are warm-blooded, and new research helps explain why.
JUL 09, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Cluster of Free-Floating Planets Captured by Kepler Telescope
JUL 09, 2021
Cluster of Free-Floating Planets Captured by Kepler Telescope
The Kepler Space Telescope has captured evidence of mysterious free-floating planets, or planets that are alone in deep ...
Loading Comments...