The Society of the Living Dead: The Illustrated History of Ottawa’s Radium Dial Scandal

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"It will put pink cheeks on you." That is what the managers of Radium Dial in Ottawa, Illinois, told the young women who painted radium on the faces of clock dials in the 1920s and 1930s. Instead, their teeth fell out and their jaws and bones disintegrated. Instead of putting pink in their cheeks, it put the women in their graves. The company knew the hazards of working with radium, but they took no safety precautions. They lied to the workers and they denied compensation to the victims. To avoid financial liability, Radium Dial closed its doors and reopened a few blocks away as Luminous Processes and continued its deadly work for another forty years. Radium Dial cared more about the health and profitability of its company than they cared about the health of the women who made the company profitable. There really was a "Society of the Living Dead," formed by the women who were dying from radium poisoning. Their astounding true story is told here.
ISBN: 9781634992299
Format: Paperback
Publisher: America Through Time
State: Illinois
Series: America Through Time
Images: 178
Pages: 160
Dimensions: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)
JIM RIDINGS has written twenty-five books of Illinois history, and several have won awards from the Illinois State Historical Society. He was presented with a Studs Terkel Award from the Illinois Humanities Council in 2006. Ridings worked as a reporter for daily newspapers in Ottawa and Aurora, Illinois, and he won more than a dozen awards for investigative reporting at both newspapers. His most significant books have been Small Justice, Len Small: Governors and Gangsters, Wild Kankakee, County West: A Sesquicentennial History of Western Kankakee County, and Cardiff: Ghost Town on the Prairie.
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