A hand opening a can.
Opening Your Canned Soda With A Pull Tab Used To Be A High-Risk Business
By Alexander Billet
In the mid-1960s, the "pop top" was a common feature in canned carbonated beverages. After opening, the triangular aluminum tab would be pulled off entirely and discarded.
These tabs were a litter nuisance and abundantly present in public spaces like beaches, where they often waited under the sand to slice up beachgoers' feet.
There was also the risk of swallowing the tabs, and it wasn't just pets or toddlers. A common method of disposing of the removed tab was to drop it into the can itself.
Added risk came from aluminum being difficult to pick up on X-rays, meaning doctors could miss the tab entirely before it's too late.
After a physician named Lee Rogers accidentally swallowed a "pop top," he suggested that these tabs were a public health hazard at a radiology conference in 1974.
Around 400 newspapers ran articles on Rodgers' suggestion, and it essentially launched a public campaign to change the opening mechanisms of soda and beer cans.
This has led to the "Stay-On-Tabs" we have today, which allow canned beverages to stay airtight and bend back into the can when opened.