Linda's Staff Picks
If it's Wednesday, I must be at The Bookloft - not the greenhouse, not leading a field trip, not at Naumkeag and not doing trail work on the AT! So many interests, like so many books, and so little time! That's why non-fiction books are usually my picks, because I try to keep up with my favorite subjects. As I heard once, "Act your shoe size!" We all need to slow down and see what there is to see. We need to reread some books, like Silent Spring. Sometimes it's children who help us grown-ups marvel at the wonders of the natural world, right in our own backyards. Stop and smell the flowers!
Find more of my Staff Picks here!
Title: Radium Girls
Yes, young women who had a great opportunity to earn good money, work together, and socialize together, and - literally SHINE!
Painting numbers on watches and other dials so they would be illuminated for the military and the general public. It was an intricate job using a special radium-based powdered mix. You wet the brush in your mouth, dip it in the mix, then paint the tiny numbers. Not supposed to be a problem, although the Curies did curtail its use. The radium was the "new thing" - a tonic good for your blood and complexion.
But warnings WERE out there about the danger and unknown consequences. The biggest problem? The girls weren't warned and the "problems" came a few years later, and doctors were stymied! Horrible effects - loss of bone mass, continuous infections in the mouth, loss of teeth, anemia - and so much suffering.
The girls from New Jersey and Illinois fought the Radium Company for compensation - to the end. Company doctors, lawyers, public health officials just couldn't get all the facts together.
And the "girls" tried to band together and fight. How hard it was for them, as their friends were dying of radium poisoning - so tragic, and sad, and strong!