Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore

It's the early twentieth century, radium has just been discovered and is touted as a miracle and wonder drug of sort. It can be found in everyday products such as lotion and tonic water but this element hides it's secret and the young women who work in the radium-dial factors are to become it's victim of a horrible, painful death.

A dial painting factory opens up in different parts of the United States. It pays well and many young women jump at the opportunity for work. It's simple enough they used brushes to put  luminescence onto dials of watches using a practice of lip pointing. This practice of putting the brush in between you lips to make the end pointy before painting the dials results in countless deaths.

The company knew that radium wasn't a safe element, yet they reassured works over and over again that they would not be harmed. Women who worked for the company began experiencing a variety of issues most of them started with an unbearable pain in the jaw. Treatment made things worse and eventually pieces of the jaw would break off. Women's bodies were ravaged with tumors depending on where radium settled in the body and bones.

The company denied responsibility and lawsuits unfolded. Read Moore's "The Radium Girls" to learn about this seemingly forgotten piece of US history. Be prepared to be angry and feel anguish for the victims and their family members.

Moore has done an excellent job of re-accounting the life stories from the women who were harmed extensively by radium. This book is well researched and easy to read!

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