Radium dial painters

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  • During World War I fluorescent paint was developed that, when mixed with radium, glowed in the dark. It was used for compasses and watches.


  • Commercial applications followed once people saw these glowing devices.


  • Workers were paid by the piece and painted faster by tipping their brushes to their tongues (ingestion).


  • Radium is a bone seeker causing radiation damage to the bone marrow.


  • Young girls painted dials until they became ill.


  • Many regulations today are due to harmful work practices carried out unknowingly in the past.


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