Book Review: The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore

Looking for your next read? Check out The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore, reviewed by Fulco Library staff, Swalena G.

This chilling real-life story begins in 1917 during World War I. Katherine Schaub starts her first day at Radium Luminous Materials Corporation. Her task along with hundreds of other young women is to paint watch-dial numerals and hands using radium. Katherine is taught the technique of lip-pointing in which the women put the brushes into their mouths to achieve a fine point. Unfortunately, the brush is coated with radium. The young ladies are told that radium is harmless and so they adopt the method to keep up production. There was little doubt for the women since at the time radium was being sold as a “health-giving element.”

Years later, the women began to experience mysterious ailments: chronic fatigue, weight loss, anemia, mouth ulcers, and pain throughout their bodies. Then the women began to “die off alarmingly fast.” At the time, the doctors misdiagnosed their illnesses, but their former colleagues noted the deaths and the link back to their previous jobs.

For Katherine and the other young ladies, it was a wonderful job to have until it was not. It allowed them to help their families and gave them financial freedom. It took a long hard fight for health and safety practices to change and for some of the families to receive financial compensation, but for the workers it was too little too late.

Check out The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women on Hoopla, Libby, or from your branch's shelves with your library card today!

The Radium Girls

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The Radium Girls eBook (for Kids, Always available)

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