Radium Girls Chemical Disaster

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Introduction and Original Use: Radium Girls was a chemical disaster that happened during the 1920’s. Women who worked in watch making were being exposed to radium all the time. These women worked painting small numbers on wristwatches, and in order to get a fine point on their paintbrush, they licked the brush, therefore swallowing the radium paint. Some of them also painted their teeth and nails with this paint since they were told that it wasn’t harmful. They painted the numbers on the watches. They used radium in the paint because when radium is mixed with zinc sulphide it glows (Boettcher, 2006). The original use of the chemical, was to create a watch that glowed in the dark, so they could see the time in the middle of the night. Soldiers in World War One wanted these watches because they needed to keep their location hidden, and this glow in the dark substance allowed them to see their watch during the night and the day without anyone else knowing where they were (Hiskey, 2012). When considering whether to use radium in watches the US Radium Corporation didn’t specifically know the effects of radium on humans (Quigley, 2002). There were a small amount of people who disagreed with the use of radium and believed it would cause harm, but these people weren’t heard over the majority who were excited about radium’s possibilities (Quigley, 2002). Although radium watches were made locally in the United States, soldiers in World War One around the globe wanted…show more content…
Radium was known as an amazing element that Rebecca Hersher said (2014) “was supposed to be a magical cure-all,” and was used in a variety of different things, including

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