Look, Vuvuzelas Are Death Traps

Aside from that one U.S.A. goal, vuvuzelas have easily inspired the most vitriol related to the 2010 World Cup. Now it turns out that they’re not just a nuisance: they’re detrimental to your health.

Today we learn that a 29-year-old South African woman has ripped open her windpipe due to over-enthusiasm for her plastic horn. “I thought I was blowing it right but perhaps I was trying too hard,” she told The Daily Mail. Perhaps. We weren’t there.

She’s on the mend, but the vuvuzelas’ health risks have begun to stack up. Audiologists have warned that the 125 decibels buzzing from the horns can damage the hearing of those in close proximity. And CNN’s Sanjay Gupta blog has cautioned that vuvuzela blowing can lead to lips swollen to twice their regular size

One doctor was quoted as saying a vuvuzela user can “spread infection to lots of people” in a crowded place, which seems like a stretch.  Still, it’s somewhat analogous to smoking: If exaggerating the adverse effects might stop people from doing it, then why not?