If there’s anything I love more than a classic episode of the Twilight Zone, it has to be indulging in marketing campaigns from the early to mid 1900’s. What a beautiful representation of propaganda. Not that today’s ads don’t have a special charm of their own; it is the language and graphic design which draws me in to that old timey advertising.
I have recently come across a modern day commercial from Lysol insisting that consumers are urged to use Lysol disinfecting spray “every single day”in their homes. I couldn’t help but think it was some kind of a sick joke. Before I had begun my own research on the matter, I was under the impression that spraying a chemically based aerosol spray throughout the homestead probably wasn’t the best of ideas. After stumbling into the shallow end of the rabbit hole I had discovered the toxic chemicals which reside in each bottle. From Mipa-Borate (a form of boric acid) to petroleum gases to ethanolamine and various other chemicals depending on which lovely scent you prefer. These chemicals negatively effect the nervous system and the respiratory system, they cause damage to your DNA, they have developmental effects, reproductive effects and unfortunately the list goes on. I find it hard to believe that there is any justified reason to be spraying this chemical at all, let alone bottling it and selling it to mostly unsuspecting consumers who are handing over far too much trust to these gigantic corporations. Why on earth would you want to pay someone for a toxic chemical to spray where you reside? What scares me is that there are people who sit in a tub of denial and trust that a corporate business looking to make as much profit as economically possible wouldn’t sell a product that could potentially harm our bodies. And to those people I have to bring to light this intriguing history of Lysol. This brings me back to that old timey advertising I had mentioned in the beginning of this post. As I was researching current information on Lysol, I stumbled across an intriguing article. Beginning in the 1920s “a number of European scientists” recommended the use of Lysol as a feminine hygiene product…I’m sorry, what?.. I didn’t believe it at first either. I dug a little deeper and it seems that the antiseptic douche was quite popular. There are even wonderfully composed ads from issues of Look! magazine. It turns out that one of the original ingredients in Lysol was cresol which is defined as a toxic agent. There are various forms of cresols, but on the positive side these cresols are known to cause neurological, dermal and respiratory problems. Don’t worry, by the 1960s after eugenics had been taking its toll on societies world wide, Margaret Sanger and the Rockefeller’s had poured enough money into not so moral science research to create birth control pills. So, throughout the 60’s the Lysol douche was knocked off its pedestal and “proven” to be dangerous and ineffective way to prevent pregnancy and disinfect those nether regions. Oh, it was also made apparent that the number of “European scientists” who approved douching with Lysol were not actual living beings in the first place.
One funny fact of advertising is that its only purpose is to sell you a product, good or bad. The company doesn’t want you to know the downside, the dangerous effects, the cancer causing or other chemical agents. They want to sell you a product they’ve invested in manufacturing and marketing. Your job as a consumer is to research the products you are purchasing. It is your duty to the health and well being of yourself and the people you care about.
The connection between the old advertisement strategy and the modern commercial I witnessed on cable television are meant to unveil the concept that you can not simply believe what you are told through various forms of the mainstream media. It was very simple for me to find information confirming my suspicion of Lysol being a dangerous household cleaner. Honestly, it took you longer to read this article than it would have to just “Google” or “Bing” your own way to the answer.
Head on over to the Environmental Working Group home page and take a look for yourself. Thank you for reading
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