How Does Radium-Contaminated Water
Because radium is absorbed by the body in
the same way as calcium, it replaces calcium in bones and tissues.
Drinking water contaminated with high levels of radium can
cause dysfunctional cell growth leading to various diseases.
Children, whose bones are still growing, are at high risk for cell
and bone related diseases caused by radium.
Diseases include bone cancer, leukemia and anemia.The legal action level for radium is 5 pC/L (picocuries per liter).
The History of Radium
The element radium is discovered by Marie
Curie when she notices that pitchblende is more radioactive than the
uranium extracted from it, and reasons that there must be
another radioactive element
1917-1925 - Thousands of young women, the "Radium
Girls," work in clock
factories, painting radium onto glow-in-the-dark watch dials.
They are encouraged to lick their brushes to form a sharper
1917-1925 - Radium becomes recognized as a substance that
makes industrial workers ill
1918-1928 - Radithor, a patent medicine made of
radium and distilled water, is sold as a common cure-all
1928 - Five "Radium Girls" sue their employers and win.
Each Radium Girl receives a $10,000 settlement
1932 - Eben Byers, who was prescribed Radithor by
his doctor, dies of radium poisoning. The Wall Street Journal
headline reads: "The Radium Water Worked Fine Until His Jaw
1936 - Radium is the first radioactive element to
be synthetically produced in the US
1974 - The Safe Water Drinking Act establishes a maximum
contaminant level for radium of 5 picocuries per liter
2012 - Marie Curie's notebooks are still so contaminated by
radiation that they are unsafe to touch
Radium used to be used as a
health tonic, until people started dying of the "cure"!