Cleaning with Polonium

Redditor Mare Astra found this in her mother-in-law's basement. Take a closer look at the fine print. If you are not familiar with this gadget, it may be alarming.

In case you are wondering, the polonium in the product is polonium-210, which has a half-life of 138 days. It is considered harmful to humans only if it is ingested, like if it got into a skin wound or was drunk in the form of Russian tea from a political enemy.

The Staticmaster 500 is one of a line of products from the Nuclear Products Company introduced in 1950. It was intended for use in cleaning vinyl records or photographic film by ionizing the air around the object, therefore eliminating static electricity and making dusting easier. If you already had one of these around the house, you might use it to keep your clothes from clinging or get your hair to stay in place. Since polonium-210 has such a short half life, these products were only guaranteed for a year. If you find one of these gadgets, it's safe to be around by now. But if you really want to have some polonium-210 around the house, you can still buy new static eliminators that use it.

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