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Why This Book Matters:

The Radium Girls tells the story of how radium poisoning influenced the lives of many young girls during the twentieth century and how their misfortune became a prime example of why companies need to try harder to protect the interests of their employees.

The Big Takeaways:

  1. When radium was discovered in the twentieth century, it was soon added to many products.
    1. If It was later discovered that radium could be toxic, and many were poisoned through the production of products with radium.
  2. Several young women took jobs as painters for watches.
    1. These girls fell ill due to their exposure to the radium in the paint. They often twisted their paintbrushes in their mouths to form fine points.
  3. There was a lot of money to be made for girls who worked as watch painters.
    1. However, despite the amount of money women could make painting watches, the medical expenses piled up after being exposed to the radium.
  4. These young women tried to sue the companies but were legally undermined.
    1. Instead of letting the case go to trial, many women accepted a sum so they would not have to battle in a twisted court system.
  5. The radium girls are only one example of negligence on the employer’s part.
    1. Many businesses still choose greed over the well-being of their employees.

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