The ‘Radium Girls’ literally glowed from their work—and then it started killing them
Nina Renata Aron
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The initial diagnosis as possibly “phossy jaw” is a sad irony, since phossy jaw was prevalent among the young working women and children who worked in match factories, making matches with white phosphorous. Red phosphorous was safer for the workers, but more expensive, so even though organizations like the Salvation Army manufactured matches made with red phosphorous, they couldn’t compete on the market with the deadly but cheaper white matches.

The white phosphorous matches kept killing even after the 1906 Berne Convention; England took four more years to phase out their use.

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