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In 1898, Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium.
Claimed to have restorative properties,
radium was added to toothpaste,
medicine,
water,
and food.
A glowing, luminous green,
it was also used in beauty products and jewelry.
It wasn't until the mid-20th century
we realized that radium's harmful effects as a radioactive element
outweighedits visual benefits.
Unfortunately, radium isn't the only pigment that historically
seemed harmless or useful
but turned out to be deadly.
That lamentable distinction includes a trio of colors and pigments
that we've long used to decorate ourselves and the things we make:
white,
green,
and orange.
Our story begins with white.
As far back as the 4th century BCE,
the Ancient Greeks treated lead to make the brilliant white pigment we know today.
The problem?
In humans, lead is directly absorbed into the body
and distributed to the blood,
soft tissues,
and mineralized tissues.
Once in the nervous system,
lead mimics and disrupts the normal functions of calcium,
causing damages ranging from learning disabilities
to high blood pressure.
Yet the practice of using this toxic pigment
continued across time and cultures.
Lead white was the only practical choice for white oil or tempera paint
until the 19th century.
To make their paint, artists would grind a block of lead into powder,
exposing highly toxic dust particles.
The pigment's liberal use resulted in what was known as painter's colic,
or what we'd now call lead poisoning.
Artists who worked with lead complained of palsies,
melancholy,
coughing,
enlarged retinas,
and even blindness.
But lead white's density, opacity, and warm tone
were irresistible to artists like Vermeer, and later, the Impressionists.
Its glow couldn't be matched,
and the pigment continued to be widely used until it was banned in the 1970s.
As bad as all that sounds,
white's dangerous effects pale in comparison
to another, more wide-spread pigment, green.
Two synthetic greens called Scheele's Green and Paris Green
were first introduced in the 18th century.
They were far more vibrant and flashy
than the relatively dull greens made from natural pigments,
so they quickly became popular choices for paint
as well as dye for textiles,
wallpaper,
soaps,
cake decorations,
toys,
candy,
and clothing.
These green pigments were made from a compound called
cupric hydrogen arsenic.
In humans, exposure to arsenic
can damage the way cells communicate and function.
And high levels of arsenic have been directly linked
to cancer and heart disease.
As a result, 18th century fabric factory workers were often poisoned,
and women in green dresses reportedly collapsed
from exposure to arsenic on their skin.
Bed bugs were rumored not to live in green rooms,
and it's even been speculated that Napoleon died from slow arsenic poisoning
from sleeping in his green wallpapered bedroom.
The intense toxicity of these green stayed under wraps
until the arsenic recipe was published in 1822.
And a century later, it was repurposed as an insecticide.
Synthetic green was probably the most dangerous color in widespread use,
but at least it didn't share radium's property of radioactivity.
Another color did, though - orange.
Before World War II, it was common for manufacturers of ceramic dinnerware
to use uranium oxide in colored glazes.
The compound produced brilliant reds and oranges,
which were appealing attributes, if not for the radiation they emitted.
Of course, radiation was something we were unaware of until the late 1800s,
let alone the associated cancer risks, which we discovered much later.
During World War II,
the U.S. government confiscated all uranium for use in bomb development.
However, the atomic energy commission relaxed these restrictions in 1959,
and depleted uranium returned to ceramics and glass factory floors.
Orange dishes made during the next decade
may still have some hazardous qualities on their surfaces to this day.
Most notably, vintage fiestaware reads positive for radioactivity.
And while the levels are low enough that they don't officially pose a health risk
if they're on a shelf,
the U.S. EPA warns against eating food off of them.
Though we still occasionally run into issues with synthetic food dyes,
our scientific understanding has helped us prune hazardous colors out of our lives.
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【TED-Ed】史上最致命的顏料 (History's deadliest colors - J. V. Maranto)

16196 分類 收藏
Jenny 發佈於 2018 年 1 月 27 日   Bruce Hsu 翻譯   Jerry 審核

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生活中處處充斥著色彩,我們穿的衣服、看的書、用的餐具、吃的糖果……無處不存在著色彩,你是否有思考過這些色彩的來源呢?想知道人類的歷史上曾為了追求色彩而動用過哪些致命的顏料嗎?快來看看這部影片吧!

1luminous0:19
luminous 是形容詞,意思是「發光的、夜光的;螢光色的;沐浴於 (光線之中);明白易懂的」。
How would anyone wear such luminous jacket to work?
到底為什麼會有人穿這麼螢光色的外套來工作?

His explanation was so luminous that even a 5-year-old boy can somehow understand the logic.
他的解釋實在是太清楚了,大概連一個五歲小孩都能理解他的邏輯。


*同場加映:
TED-ED : 光秒、光年、光世紀─如何測量極限距離 (Light seconds, light years, light centuries: How to measure extreme distances - Yuan-Sen Ting)


2outweigh0:30
out 有「超出」的意思,而 weigh 是「重量」;因此,outweigh 這個動詞即是「比… 重;比… 更有價值」的意思。
Her reputation outweighs her achievements.
她的名聲超越她的實際成就。


*同場加映:
你仍然相信的 7 個健康飲食的迷思 (7 MYTHS You Still Believe About "Healthy Eating")


3grind1:34
grind 在影片中的用法是動詞,有「磨碎、輾碎;磨光;磨成;刻苦地做、苦學」的意思,也可以作名詞,有「研磨;摩擦聲;苦差事」的意思。他的過去式和過去分詞是 ground,拼法跟我們熟悉的「地面」是相同的哦!
The peanut brittle is ground into powder to mix with the ice cream.
花生糖被磨成粉來搭配冰淇淋食用。

Hearing that terrible news, he started grinding his teeth and clenching his fists in anxiety.
一聽到那個糟糕的消息,他開始焦慮地咬牙、握拳。


*同場加映:
麥當勞到底用雞肉那些區塊做雞塊?加拿大麥當勞回答你! (What parts of the chicken do you use? McDonald's Canada answers)


4pose a risk4:35
pose 在這邊做動詞,它本身有「擺姿勢;假裝、冒充;裝腔作勢;提出;造成、引起」的意思,在這個片語中是「造成、引起」的意思;而作為名詞則有「姿勢、裝腔作勢」的意思。risk 是名詞「風險」,也可以作動詞表示「冒…的風險;以…作為賭注」。因此,pose a risk 的意思即為「帶來風險」囉!
相似的用法還有:
pose a threat 帶來威脅
pose a question 問…問題
pose a danger 造成危險
Her ignorant act is posing a risk on exposing our position!
她無知的行為正在為我們帶來行蹤暴露的風險!


*同場加映:
為什麼統計是打擊犯罪的關鍵 (Anne Milgram: Why smart statistics are the key to fighting crime)


5prune4:50
prune 作為動詞有「修剪、修整;剪除;削減」的意思。
The organization is now facing some financial problems, and is believed to start pruning some of the branches in the near future.
這個組織正面臨一些財務問題,人們相信在不久的將來它將會開始裁減一些部門。


*同場加映:
【艾倫秀】超爆笑!如果艾倫在家工作的話...結果會是? (中英字幕) (Ellen Works from Home)


看完影片後,對於現代生活中這些艷麗的視覺享受,你是否也開始產生一些崇敬之情了呢?

文/ Lilian Chang

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