Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women

Radium Girls

Format: Audiobook

Source: Hoopla Digital

Rating: 3

Radium became all the rage for a few years.  It was used in all kind of things, from a tonic to cosmetic, and was even used in paints.

The U.S. Radium Corporation was one of the major companies that used radium paint to illuminate clock dials and aircraft instruments.  One thing they did not fully consider when starting out the venture was Occupational hazards and industrial poisoning.  Money was good, and lots of the girls working there came from poor families.  Until quite a few of the girls started dying nothing was really done.

This book explores the life and death of many of the workers.  Some of the girls fell apart slowly, starting with teeth, but since the radium was in their bones they started having all kinds of issues. The girls were taught the precision technique of lip pointing.  The problem was that was a quick way for the radium to get in their system.  Most of the girls started with teeth problems and went to the dentist and kept getting teeth pulled.  The problem was once the teeth were removed the girls had more and more issues with the mouth healing.

The problem that all the girls faced besides dying horrific deaths, was that the companies opposed the claim of radium poisoning.  Even when medical reports came back the companies still fought tooth and nail to not have to pay any money out.  The companies claimed that they never taught the women to lip point, that radium didn’t cause their ailments, and that some of them the company claimed were past the statute of limitations.

This is not a feel-good story.  This is a story that will pull at your heartstrings as the girls suffer and die an agonizing death.



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