November 26, 2010 Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH 2Comment

Our friend and APHA OHS colleague Mark Catlin has assembled on YouTube an amazing collection of more than 500 environmental health and safety film clips. The video collection contain footage dating back to the 1920’s, with loads WWII-era films produced by the U.S. military, Public Health Service and companies promoting tires, asbestos, oil, steel, tetraethyl lead, and more. The collection has already had a million hits this year.

One of my favorites, Safety Styles, features WWII pin-up model Veronica Lake. The actress, known for her flowing long blonde peakapoo hair style, encourages working women to pin up their locks. As the boss says to one of the workers, keeping hair off your face will prevent your long locks from getting caught in a machine AND improve productivity.

I’ve used Introduction to Asbestos, 1959 (00:02:32) in lectures on environmental health. It’s eery to hear the narrator begins the clip saying “It’s just a matter of time.” He’s marveling at the geologic forces that created the “magic mineral.” The irony is not lost on me. Because of the asbestos industry’s and US government’s promotion of the deadly minerals, it was just a matter of time before it caused (and continues to cause) disease, death and a public health disaster across the globe. Worse yet is the well-financed propaganda campaign that continues to insist even today that chrysotile asbestos is safe. It is not—it is associated with multiple forms of cancer and non-malignant respiratory disease.

Mark Catlin has spent hundreds of hours combing sites to assemble this collection of film clips. Some are enlightening, some infuriating, others just plain funny (see An Industrial Hygienist on Mars, 1952 (00:00:52)). We’d love to hear how you’ll use them in presentations, classes or discussion groups. Meanwhile, here are some of Catlin’s favorites:

Disposal of Sodium, 1947 (00:01:45)
It’s Not Kerosene’s Fault, 1930s (00:00:28)
Shriveling testicles comment DBCP, 1979 (00:01:07)
Steel Industry Safety in 1936 (00:01:23)

Women at Work in WWII
, 1943 (00:01:37)
Occupational Medicine Ethical Concerns in early 1900s, (00:00:52)
Pandemic Disease in 3 minutes or the evolution of a skeptical scientist
Pandemic Flu Song, 2006 (00:03:31)

See if you can locate the clip in which the male boss says to the female factory worker:

“Mary, rules are here to protect you and the other girls.”

Hint: US Office of Education Training Film addressing “problems in supervision.”

2 thoughts on “WWII hair styles for safety, no kidding, watch it for yourself

  1. with the interest in North Korea increasing over the last few months i had a look at some of the NK made films that can be found on Youtube.proper hair cuts,military style of course, are “recommended”. there are man on the street interviews asking why that person did not have a good socialist hair cut.most answer that they have been working out of the country and not had a chance to get one yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.