‘Radium Girls’ who worked in a factory where they worked with luminescent radium. Not knowing it was dangerous, they often painted it on their lips and teeth for fun. They began to develop radium necrosis, causing their jaws to rot and develop disfiguring tumors, and eventually died
The Radium Girls were so contaminated that if you stood over their graves today with a Geiger counter, the radiation levels would still cause the needles to jump more than 80 years later. They were small-town girls from New Jersey who had been hired by a local factory to paint the clock faces of luminous watches, the latest new army gadget used by American soldiers. The women were told that the glow-in-the-dark radioactive paint was harmless, and so they painted 250 dials a day, licking their brushes every few strokes with their lips and tongue to give them a fine point.