Deadly Glow: The Radium Dial Worker Tragedy

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Deadly Glow is an important story of a public health tragedy. It chronicles the lives of numerous young women who worked in radium application plants in the early 1900s painting numerals on instrument and watch dials. From their experience, the harmful effects of radium deposited in the body became known. The victims suffered from skin ulcerations, tumors, and other severe medical symptoms. Physicians were baffled and misdiagnosed their conditions as heart disease and even syphilis. Solving the intriguing mystery of the workers' disabling, yet unknown, disease would be a complex and difficult task requiring brilliant detective work of several investigators. In time, this tragedy would be recognized as the worlds' first mass experience with injury and death caused by exposure to atomic radiation. This is a compelling story for occupational medicine, health physics, radiation safety, and public health workers. But for all people, Deadly Glow will tell the dreadful tale and heroic conclusion of a public health disaster.