Madame Curie discovered radium and the world thought that it could be a miracle substance. In the 1920's young women flocked to new businesses that were using radium churning out important machines that would help the military and consumers see in the darkness. These women were proud that they had a great job in a safe environment painting watch dials that would illuminate the world. The women loved what they did and took great delight in the glow that spotlighted them all through their hometowns. These select jobs were considered a godsend as the wages kept food on the tables of families and even gave the women their own spending money for the first time.
They followed the instructions to point the brush with their lips, dip into the powder and paint the dials as fast as they could. They listened to the supervisors who told them it was harmless and in doing so, ingested poison that would take its gruesome toll over the next few years. As employees began to have health problems they asked if it could be their work environment and again they were told that it was safe. A small group of persistent brave women challenged the system and took two of the companies to court. Years later, even as they began to die off, the group fought. This book will make you sad with what happened to these brave women but it will make you furious that they did not receive justice for so long. Do not skip the jaw dropping postscript which will make you livid. This is an amazing look at a sad period in this country's treatment of working women.
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