Message 83: faces, hands, arms, necks

These comments are excerpted from an email Daniel Bentley sent to me in August, 2002:

“I recently went back to visit the OKC booklet to have a go at finding something hidden in there. On the second to last page (the one with the figures shaking hands) at the bottom the words ‘faces, hands, arms, necks’ and ‘the corsets of the dial painters’ are readable. This is an extract from a report by Dr Cecil Drinker into women who became affected by Radium which they painted onto watch dials in the 1920s to make them luminous. They were unprotected and were exposed to high levels of dangerous radiation. The full extract reads ‘Dust samples collected in the workroom from various locations and from chairs not used by the workers were all luminous in the dark room. Their hair, faces, hands, arms, necks, the dresses, the underclothes, even the corsets of the dial painters were luminous. One of the girls showed luminous spots on her legs and thighs. The back of another was luminous almost to the waist….'”

You can read a review of the book Radium Girls: Women and Industrial Health Reform, 1910-1935 by Claudia Clark. There is also an essay on “The Radium Girls.”

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