When Undark Was Lethal

A century ago, radium paint seemed like a miracle product. Then young factory workers started falling horribly ill.

To paint watch dials with radium, young women were taught to tease their brushes to a point by moistening them in their mouths. Many worried that the paint could harm them, but over and over their supervisors told them no, it was safe — healthy, even. There’s damning evidence that the higher-ups knew better. (Visual by )

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