“Despite the harrowing implications, why do you feel this story hasn’t been widely explored?” is asked at the back of this book as part of a discussion guide and that my dears, is exactly what I would like to know!
This novel explores not only the story itself, not only the clinical and factual side, but focused on the LIVES of these women. What they went through, how they were forced to deal with the fallout, what they suffered and lost.
These women were lied to, manipulated, kept in the dark while they themselves were illuminated, and generally just pushed to keep quiet and not make a fuss because they couldn’t *possibly* be hurt by the radium. No, never.
HOWEVER, and this is a BIG HOWEVER, without them, without this happening, without it being blown up and reported and the company and its injustices becoming called out, I can not even begin the imagine what the world would be like today. Seriously. Think about it.
This was the catalyst for workplace safety, MSDS sheets (Maybe called something else now, but they used to be the Material Safety Data Sheets that employees could see what they were using and the hazards/precautions necessary) and OSHA.
Considering that my very first job ever was over ten years ago and in a factory, I can appreciate this work.
I grew up in Illinois and beyond barely remembering a passing reference made in something I read at some point about this, I knew nothing about this.It is completely and utterly repulsive what these women saw and had to live through from the Radium Dial company.The cover-ups. The denials. The complete lack of regard toward human life. ALl in the name of the almighty dollar. It’s sickening.
Yet, it is overall a call to action. This book is laid out in a factual way, but it shows the great strength of will these women showed during the process of trying to be heard and afford change. All they really wanted was justice. To prevent this from killing/hurting others.
Highly well researched and full of works cited at the end, this book should be REQUIRED READING for all.
The ads for radium and undark as well as some of the newspaper articles on their cases can be found quickly through a simple Google search. The Argonne report as a pdf can be found through the wiki page on the radium girls. There are tons of avenues that can be explored for the interested reader beyond what is presented here.
If you read no other book this year, make it this one.
Let’s not repeat history.
Let’s learn from it.
4.0% “Lip-pointing! Oh my goodness. Ingesting radium on a daily basis like that? Multiple times? Being touted as a cure-all and wonder drug? Goodness!”
23.0% “I had heard about this Radium Girls event in passing, or perhaps read it referenced somewhere before…however in passing versus actually reading in depth about what occurred are two completely different things all together…you know, this bs happening as near as less than 100 years ago is ludicrous, yet it isn’t surprising. Kudos to them for going after these pos higher-ups! Seriously, shameful.”
27.0% “”…when the doctor had been hired to find evidence that leaded gas was safe.” At this part I paused, and started thinking: This is crazy of course, but look at all the stuff NOW that my generation has been exposed to: BPA in products, ALL the nasty stuff in make-up/beauty products STILL, and of course the anti-bacterial craze that FINALLY got taken out of products now…damn.”
30.0% “That is irksome. Not until a man died did this Dr. guy get involved. Then? Then he was instructed also to “keep his findings secret”. Such corruption here! Of course he found radioactivity in this guys bones. Of course, the radium was the cause. It is so insane to think that this case took YEARS before it was even able to move forward due to such backhanded/shadyness by the company!”
38.0% “And what a shady dentist! Wanting his cut like that? Then the company being all high and mighty? Ugh! Those poor women!”
56.0% “Such cover-up. The parents being “well-pleased”. Truly devastating. Greed at its worst. And this level of covering up I am sure still happens now with huge corporate conglomerates.”
58.0% “This is MADDENING! Quinta, debilitated, and her husband tries to kill her? What in the actual hell? Then Barry, basically has to bow out to win the case for Mae? I am so mad on the behalf of all of these women. They got no true justice. None.”
71.0% “I am honestly very surprised that considering some of the trial(s) happened in Chicago, that more (or any) isn’t somehow included in Chicago anywhere. I have been to the Field Museum and other “tourist attractions” there and not once do I recall seeing or reading anything about The Radium Girls. (I do remember reading about them *somewhere* but do not believe that to have been in Chicago.) Curious.”
84.0% “In the Epilogue, I find it intriguing that further tests on relatives were made due to exposure. I appreciate that the radium was referenced as being a help in establishing protocol in regard to nuclear testing etc. I also find it interesting that the U.S. studies in Argonne was referenced as I am also reading through that report as a result of personal interest from *this* book. There is so much out there to learn.”