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Running Head: RADIUM DIAL GIRLS The Radium Dial Girls Name School Radium: Its Uses and Effects Radium was first discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898. The rarity of radium and the long, tedious separation from its parent material, the uranium ore, made it very expensive at $100thousand per gram in 1921.
Physicians took interest in the gamma ray emissions from radium radioactive decomposition and the potential therapeutic effects of internally deposited radium in humans (Rowland, 1994). Beginning in 1903, radium use became popular in the U.S. Its healing powers and the improved quality of lives of users have been widely publicized in the country. Radium drink or “liquid sunshine” could treat stomach cancer (Badash, 1979). Tumors could be reduced or removed through direct application of radium salts. Candies and sodas were laced with radium. Radium facial creams could rejuvenate skin in women while radium baths could restore vitality in men. Radithor, radium-mixed water, was claimed to cure dyspepsia, hypertension, sexual incapacity, and several endocrinologic ailments. However, in large quantities, Radithor-intake proved lethal. Millionaire-socialite golf champion Eben Byers, after four years of consuming more than a thousand bottles of Radithor, suffered and died of acute anemia, excessive weight loss, massive damage of his jawbone, skull, and whole skeleton, and failure of kidneys and bone-marrow (Moss & Eckhardt, 1995). Research on the radioluminous ability of radium flourished in the 1900s. In 1908, radium paint was initially developed in Germany. In 1913, America started making “glow in the dark” paint. The U.S. ...
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