5 Everyday Pieces of Clothing With Shocking Health Risks
Zippered pants are considered formalwear down at the Cracked offices, so we're probably the last place to be giving you fashion advice. We don't know jack about stuff like "style" or "coordination" or "covering our genitals completely," so we'll leave that to the professionals -- all we know is that you should probably avoid wearing the following common clothing items that are physically damaging, or in some cases even trying to outright kill you. Unless they look really tits with that new jacket you just bought.
Skinny Jeans Can Cause Nerve Damage
No longer the exclusive domain of effeminate glam rockers, hipsters and fat dudes with tight clothing budgets, skinny jeans have become a part of the mainstream fashion scene. You may also know them by some of their other names -- "pegs," "drainpipes," "stovepipes" or "cigarette pants" -- but based on their effect on the human body, we're coining a new term right now: "nerve-murdering leg-pythons."
Doctors actually warn that wearing tight pants like skinny jeans can compress the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which runs down your thigh and, like all other nerves, is there to register physical sensations like touch and pain.
"Even if I wear them ironically?
Therefore, if you squeeze your legs into a tight denim casing like some sort of hairy, flesh-colored sausage, the constant pressure on the LFC nerve might cause it to go into overdrive and start registering pain like crazy before ultimately crashing and burning. The medical name for it is meralgia paraesthetica. Despite sounding like a supporting villain in a Harry Potter book, that's actually a serious neurological disorder that causes numbness of the leg, stinging pain, oversensitivity to heat and even atrophied leg tissue in some cases.
Leg tissue if you're lucky.
Meralgia paraesthetica, which is usually seen among girdle wearers and friggin' car accident victims, can be further exacerbated by women wearing high heels. So, sexy ladies with poor driving skills, you're really getting the short end of the pain-pants stick on this one. Potentially dangerous blood clots, however, are great supporters of gender equality: They strike men and women alike whenever they don the skinniest of pants. Luckily, in most cases, the injuries are not permanent and can be reversed simply by taking the pants off.
So there you go: You've got a new pickup line to try at the bar tonight.
"Damn it, ladies! There's no time! I'll just have to save the three of you at once."
Facial Piercings Can Short Circuit Your Brain
As we all know, getting your lip, nose or eyebrow pierced is not only the best way to distinguish yourself as a unique snowflake amongst a banal blizzard of humanity, but also grants you exclusive admission to a large club of like-minded fellows! Unfortunately, your whole "misunderstood alt-culture rebel" mystique will go flying out the window once you start pratfalling at random and go cross-eyed like a bad Jerry Lewis routine.
Just pick one.
Scientists suspect that getting facial piercings can damage the facial trigeminal nerve, which connects the physical sensations in your face up with your neural center. So if you damage your trigeminal nerve, it can mess with how your brain works.
It turns out that the trigeminal nerve is in a sort of Tomax and Xamot relationship with your cerebellum and vestibular nucleus (parts of the brain responsible for eye alignment and posture). For those of you who know of sex, we'll explain that last analogy for you: If you fuck with one, you fuck with the other. So a misplaced or mishandled piercing can lead to symptoms like eye misalignment and loss of balance.
"Honestly, I don't even like this haircut, but I keep falling out of the stylist's chair."
Think of a pierced trigeminal nerve as a prank call to your meat CPU, telling it that, say, the floor is now slanted at a 60-degree angle. Your newly crossed eyes totally "confirm" this information, your body tries to adjust itself, and Bob's your uncle -- you just ate shit into a storm drain because you had to put a yin-yang symbol in your nose.
There is good news, though: In a 2011 French study, subjects with facial piercings who were complaining about dizziness, headaches and balance issues all suddenly felt better when their face jewelry was removed. Minutes after putting it on again, however, some of the symptoms returned, fading yet again when the piercings were taken out.
"We only dropped him twice each, which was a huge improvement."
So it looks like you have a choice here: Either risk nerve-damaging your brain until you can't stand up straight, or give up the one thing that distinguishes you from the dreaded "sheeple." It's like Sophie's Choice for surly teenagers.
Your Accessories Might Be Toxic
You know those cheap, tacky rings and necklaces they sell in mall kiosks, right next to the bejeweled iPhone cases with portraits of Nelly on them? If you've ever forgotten your wife's or daughter's birthday and suddenly needed to buy a present -- any present, for the love of God! -- then yes, you probably do. Also, you have likely just poisoned your family.
"... no, this time was unintentional."
Ever since the world first learned about the dangers of lead and how maybe we shouldn't be putting it in our paints and babies anymore, many overseas manufacturers have been trying to find a cheap replacement metal with which to build their discount jewelry. Many of them settled on cadmium -- it's inexpensive and easy to handle, as well as horribly toxic and linked to kidney/bone/liver disease and cancer.
In a study of 92 pieces of chintzy tween jewelry, it was discovered that two of them would end up exposing a person to 100 times the recommended limit of cadmium if swallowed. The rest of the trinkets weren't exactly safe to begin with, but could become up to 30 times more noxious if they were ever damaged. Remember: This gaudy, bargain-basement jewelry is mostly marketed to children, whose primary goals in life are to break things, put them in their mouths and break things by putting them in their mouths.
"If they didn't want me to eat this, they shouldn't have made it so delicious."
You have to wonder, though, what exactly did happen to all that lead that used to go straight into the mouths of our children via their Claddagh necklaces. The answer: It's being put inside women's handbags that are found in every major retail store in the country.
In the Center for Environmental Health's study of 100 handbags from major retailers like Target, Macy's, Walmart and Kohl's, it came to light that many of them contained more lead than a Chinese knockoff of 50 Cent. Some of the bags had 30 to 100 times the federal limit set for lead in consumer products. That is especially bad news for people with children, as the toxic lead can rub off onto your hands and later onto your kids when, ironically, you slap them for touching your poisoned handbag.
"Honestly, I view the poison as a mercy."
So we guess that the lesson in all of this is ... if you don't buy expensive brand-name goods, you will kill yourself and possibly your family. Man, we always knew that we'd kowtow to corporate America, but we didn't think that it would be because of mass poisonings. We had our money on hybrid-monkey shopping enforcement squads in the "corporate dystopia" pool.
Bras Mess With Your Sleep and Immune System
We love bras. We hate bras. They support boobs. They chain boobs. They wildly swing back and forth from sexy godsend to patriarchal titty handcuffs. In 1999, a group of Japanese scientists decided to add a little weight to the negative side of the bra scale by linking the undergarment with abnormal sleeping patterns and hormonal imbalance. In a study from the Department of Environmental Health at Nara Women's University, 10 healthy women were asked to wear a girdle and brassiere for a couple of nights while the scientists tested their saliva, urine and rectal temperature (wait, are we sure this was science?). The study showed decreased levels of melatonin in the participants' saliva while they were wearing the foundation garments. According to the scientists, the skin pressure caused by bras can suppress the production of melatonin, which medical professionals consider "not ... super great."
Science works in mysterious ways.
Melatonin has a crucial role in our sleep patterns, essentially determining when we fall asleep and wake up. Among its many other jobs, it also helps control the menstrual cycle and the immune system. Melatonin's duties, and therefore the implications of screwin' with said duties by wearing a breast-bag, are wide reaching. But to put it simply, wearing a bra while sleeping lowers your melatonin levels, which then messes up your sleep, makes you sick and interferes with your period. Also, that wire will totally poke you in the side when you flip over, and nobody likes that.
"I'm actually used to annoying tiny pokes in my back when I'm trying to sleep."
Neckties Can Damage Your Eyesight
Thanks to Mad Men, the suit-and-tie look has been making a rocketing comeback in men's fashion. But just like everything else that seems awesome about the '60s, it turns out that wearing neckties secretly sucks. Specifically, wearing a tie can put you at risk for glaucoma.
Glaucoma is one of the most common eye diseases in the world and can lead to permanent blindness unless it's treated early. Its primary cause is increased pressure in the eye, which in turn can be caused by obstructed blood flow to and from the head. Like if, say, someone tied a fashionably striped little silk noose around your neck and strangled you with it for seven or eight hours every day.
At least regular nooses make you look like a criminal badass.
A 2003 study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology asked 40 men, half completely healthy and half suffering from glaucoma, to tighten a necktie to "slightly uncomfortable" levels for three minutes, then measured their intraocular pressure. Sixty percent of the glaucoma sufferers and 70 percent of the healthy group showed increased pressure in their eyes. We're not even talking Hulk Hogan headlock levels here -- just "slightly uncomfortably tight," which describes every single tie we've ever worn.
"Whatcha ya gonna do, brother, when the 50-inch silk-woven python runs wild on you!?!"
It turns out that wearing a necktie very gently obstructed the patients' jugular vein, which returns blood from the head to the heart. At best, long-term pressure rises like this can lead to being misdiagnosed with glaucoma by your doctor, and you'll have to do that super annoying air-puff-in-the-eye test every few months for the rest of your life. Of course, at worst, it could lead to permanent damage to the retina. And then you wouldn't even be able to see how absolutely bitchin' you look in that suit. That's like the definition of tragedy right there.
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a freelance English-Japanese-Polish translator, tour guide and writer. If you pay him, he will write words for you. Contact him at email@example.com.
For more ways you can probably die, check out 6 Ways Your Office Is Literally Killing You and 6 Statistically Full of S#!t Dangers The Media Loves to Hype.