The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women (Paperback)
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!— From Linda
A New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller
"the glowing ghosts of the radium girls haunt us still."--NPR Books
The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger
The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.
Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive -- until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.
But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come.