By Kim Rossi
Captain's Log. Stardate January 8, 2018. "We're exhausted. Trapped. Not sure we'll ever leave this planet called.... snowed in."
I'm loopy, friends. We had a Nor'Easter Blizzardy thing on Wednesday that closed everything here in Connecticut for two days. My car battery died on Saturday, a victim of low single digit temperatures inside my garage. We've watched so much Nick Jr. it's now Nick the XIV.
Yesterday, I was poking around CNN and came across an interesting article that caught my eye because it jogged my memories of Dan and his (and Mark Blaxill's) tireless writing about mercury, medicine and the man made epidemic so many of us live every day - snow day or not.. Titled, Radium Girls: The dark times of luminous watches.
A century ago, glow-in-the-dark watches were an irresistible novelty. The dials, covered in a special luminous paint, shone all the time and didn't require charging in sunlight. It looked like magic.
One of the first factories to produce these watches opened in New Jersey in 1916. It hired about 70 women, the first of thousands to be employed in many such factories in the United States. It was a well-paid, glamorous job.
For the delicate task of applying the paint to the tiny dials, the women were instructed to point the brushes with their lips. But the paint made the watches glow because it contained radium, a radioactive element discovered less than 20 years earlier, its properties not yet fully understood. The women were ingesting it with nearly every brushstroke.
They became known as the "Radium Girls."
Radium became part of a health fad, according to the article after its discovery by Madame Marie Curie and its use in cancer treatments. It was a proper craze. Radium became an additive in a number of everyday products, from toothpaste to cosmetics and even food and drinks.
Despite knowing the dangers of this radioactive substance, the worker were lied to and put in harm's way in order to create these popular time pieces. But the girls didn't embrace this technique blindly. "The first thing they asked was (whether) the paint was harmful, but the managers said it was safe, which was the obvious answer for a manager of a company whose very existence depended on radium paint."
Sounds a lot like the mercury and the Age of Autism, doesn't it? Thimerosal is safe. Mercury is safe. Aluminum is safe. GMO foods are safe. Glyphosates are safe. Trust your corporate American Daddies - everything is safe. Especially profits.
You're living in your own Private Idaho
Where do I go from here to a better state than this
Well, don't be blind to the big surprise
Swimming round and round like the deadly hand
Of a radium clock, at the bottom of the pool
Kim Rossi is Managing Editor for Age of Autism.