The History Of Color Televisions In The 1960s

Unfortunately, our homes weren’t always so safe. There were many radioactive items in homes about a century ago. Radium was commonly included in toys, watches, and even chocolates. Luckily, by the 1950s people started understanding the risks of radium and manufacturers stopped adding radium to products.

However, when color televisions started becoming more popular in the 1960s, testing discovered that they were emitting unsafe levels of radiation. At first, GE color televisions were outed in the studies, but they quickly realized that radiation was detected in all color televisions during that time. Over 112,000 television sets were unsafe.

What Made Them Radioactive And Unsafe?

color tv
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Health officials said that radiation was linked to the high voltage that needed to power early color televisions. At the time, certain televisions were almost 100,000 times higher the safe rate of radiation.

People started to freak out, of course, so the government released a statement that said that the radiation levels weren’t strong enough to hurt them if they sat at least six feet away from the screen.

1960 tv

If people liked to sit on the carpet right in front of the television set or put the television up high, they could have been at risk. Even now, technology has come a long way and there are no radiation risks. You have probably heard someone declare that watching too much TV can rot your brain. Perhaps this came from the 1960s scare.

What Happened Next To Color Televisions?

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In 1968, Congress passed the Radiation Control for Health and Safety Act. This meant that the government would help regulate radiation emissions in televisions and other electronics.

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Those harmful color television sets slowly but surely disappeared from homes and stores.

watching tv

We still don’t really know if any long-term health problems came from those color televisions, but the FDA still regulates radiation in electronics.

Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, manufacturers of televisions would install glass plates to block excess radiation.


These days most of the risks of watching too much television include eye strain and all of the health risks of sitting too much. According to Mayo Clinic, some of the risks of sitting too much are obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Do you remember your first color television set? Do you remember the media talking about radiation risk? If you found this article interesting, please SHARE with your friends and family!

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