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The True Yet Unbelievable Story of America's Radium Girls



While the men used to get the lead aprons to cover themselves during the experiments, these girls were given nothing to shield themselves!

The United States Radium Company

The United States Radium Company

In 1917, there was a troop of girls who thought themselves to be lucky working in the large warehouse complex in New Jersey, Oregon. The pay offered was three times more than the regular pay and all they had to do was to apply the glowing paint for United States Radium Company on the instrument gauges, clocks, and wristwatches.

The Radium Girls

The Radium Girls

These radium girls weren’t cautioned enough about the side effects of the paint which led to careless use and indigestion of radium. The radium was invented in 1898 but couldn’t be put into use 1910 when Marie Curie was successful in isolating the element and in 1917 there was the introduction of radium-infused paints.

After the invention of Radium, the couple, Pierre and Marie Curie stated that this invention was dangerous. It gave Marie burns on her skin and Pierre stated in one of his interviews that he was afraid of burns and turning blind if there was even a kg of radium.

The Use of Radium

The Use of Radium

The convention at the time stated that limited use of Radium could be beneficial for health. Hence, so people started using radium toothpaste, cosmetics, radium infused tonic water and so much for the cheery glow. There were many optimistic types of research or the scientific miracles where radium was mixed in the paint that could absorb energy during the day and glow through the night.

The Effects of Radium On Human Body

The Effects of Radium On Human Body

This evil radium had only stable isotope, radium-226, which was found in the later stages.Although any sample of Radium releases alpha radiation and it doesn’t even harm in small doses and doesn’t penetrate the skin easily. But if one indigested into one’s body, it might have fatal effects. When radium is placed close to the cell membrane or in the bloodstream, due to the act where the radium releases photos from the lower orbit in the dark. There are many particles that are released one after another which result in killing off of many cells.

The Discrimination In The Workspace

The Discrimination In The Workspace

The men working in USRC were given lead apron, but the females were not only denied that but encouraged to lick off the top of brush for detailed work. The difference was because men had to deal with large amounts of radium at one point, but the women didn’t.

The girls would get over this radium paint all over their body by the end of the day. Because they were unaware of Radium effects, they used to apply it on their nails, dresses that they were supposed to wear to ballroom dance and more. Because of high pay and no known side effect in small doses, this job was hyped and well encouraged with around 300 female employees by 2020.

The Radium Girls Who Suffered Loss

The Radium Girls Who Suffered Loss

In 1922, a girl named May repeatedly got her teeth taken out and when an abscess was there in the gum and surgery was suggested, the doctor found that her jaw bone crashed at the touch of his fingertips. The Radium had stripped the bones out of calcium. Similarly, another worker Mollie suffered the same degeneration in her spine as May had sustained in her teeth.

There were a couple of studies carried out by an organization who deemed Radium as acutely dangerous after which USRC was under the debt of colossal labour and medical costs.



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