[ RadSafe ] Radium history question - internal contamination

Steven Dapra sjd at swcp.com
Fri Oct 28 15:17:15 CDT 2011

Oct. 28

         More about the canceling of research on radium-exposed 
persons can be found in an article by Jim Muckerheide (1995).

Steven Dapra


Muckerheide, J.  The health effects of low-level radiation:  Science, 
data, and corrective action.  Nuclear News.  38(11):26-34; September, 
1995.  Also see the editorial by Nancy Zacha in this issue of NN.

At 11:37 AM 10/28/2011, you wrote:

>On Oct 28, 2011, at 10:17 AM, Bjorn Cedervall wrote:
> > It is certainly clear that some people working with radium during 
> the approx. years 1910-1940 became heavily contaminated with radium 
> and even exhaled radon as a consequence of the radium burden (the 
> dial painters are probably the best known examples, see Claudia 
> Clark's Radium Girls which is great reading for anyone interested 
> in that particular tragedy).
>Although I took Robley Evans graduate course at MIT, a good buddy 
>was a thesis student of his.  My friend was involved in measuring 
>the radon exhaled by many "Radium Girls" who had not developed bone 
>cancers many years before.  It was curious that these women seemed 
>to be living longer than the normal lifespans of unexposed 
>women.  The real tragedy was the canceling of government support for 
>such monitoring while many of the women were still alive!  A 
>scientific opportunity was lost that will probably never be available again.
>After Prof. Evans suggested the dial painters stop pointing their 
>radium brushes with their lips such fatal contamination ended.  No 
>other other remediation was made:  no monitoring of the work place 
>was done, no cleanup was performed, no government agency was involved!
>J. Marshall Reber, ScD
>165 Berkeley St.
>Methuen MA 01844
>Tel/Fax: 978-683-6540
>Alternate Email: reber at alum.mit.edu

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