Radium Girls

I read the story about the Radium Girls, and it’s absolutely fascinating yet terrifying that radium was once considered an amazing product that could help people. It’s also quite sad that these women were exposed to so much radiation that years later, radon gas was detected in the breath. And even after their deaths, radioactive particles were still being emitted from their bodies. Unfortunately, they did not know how deadly radium was. It was touted as this amazing element with great health properties that could give you energy and even heal cancer. It was then put to use as “paint” to make watches glow in the dark. The women painting the dials did not know that what they were inhaling and ingesting was extremely toxic and would haunt them for the rest of their short lives. A lot of corporations using radium did not want to consider that their product was potentially lethal because it would cost them the money, and scientists, like Marie Curie, did not want to think that their discovery was poisonous. This is quite common when it comes to new scientific discoveries, as we don’t want to think that it could dangerous or harmful to us in anyways, especially if it makes us money or makes us famous or helps us in some way.

I mean, back in the day doctors and scientists came to the conclusion that heroin and cocaine were good for your health, but when they realized people were getting addicted, they had to rethink their decision. There are many stories about situations like this in which something was considered “good” and “useful” by scientists eventually turned out to be extremely harmful.

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