Andrea Tone has written a book on the history of contraceptives in America. Long before the pill “experts” told women that douching with “safe” and “gentle” products like a Lysol soap could not only give them “dainty feminine allure” but also be used as a birth control method.

“By 1911 doctors had recorded 193 Lysol poisonings and five deaths from uterine irrigation. Despite reports to the contrary, Lysol was aggressively marketed to women as safe and gentle. Once cresol was replaced with ortho-hydroxydiphenyl in the formula, Lysol was pushed as a germicide good for cleaning toilet bowls and treating ringworm, and Lehn & Fink’s, the company that made the disinfectant, continued to market it as safeguard for women’s “dainty feminine allure.””

To read the article in Mother Jones, click here.