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Image: US Government

Nuclear power has long been touted as a Utopian technology, ushering in an era of work-free, unlimited energy supply and correspondingly longer and healthier lives. Today it is more well-known for its dangers, which include the atom bomb and radiation poisoning . Yet for 40 years, Radium was a popular tonic added to everything from tea to lipstick. We’ve decided to explore some of the strangest radioactive products in history and the effects they might have had on those that used them.


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Tho-Radia Face Cream

Promising instant curative and beautifying effects, Tho-Radia gained wide popularity in France during the early 1930’s as a range of beauty products and perfumes. The face cream was especially popular and contained of 0.5g thorium chloride and 0.25mg radium bromide per 100g. It was even advertised as a creation of ‘Dr. Alfred Curie’ although he was not a member of the Curie family and probably never existed.

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Radium Watch Dials

In the early 1900’s luminescent clock and watch faces featured digits painted using paint Radium paint, the most common version being Undark, created by the United States Radium Corporation. Young women painters of the dials used to point their brushes by licking the bristles, a practice that resulted in severe radium ingestion, eventually causing facial bone disintegration and other dental problems.

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