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If you don't know the story of the radium girls, it's one that for whatever reason resonates with me. I feel that this site does a good job of letting you know that the ingredients in the products you use are safe... enough... at first glance with no further questions... (Sorry guys!!!) However, there has been things that have slipped under the radar in our history.
The Radium Girls were a team of girls that worked for a watch painting outfit using radium to pant the numbers of the face plates. It was the early 1920's and these girls were in their late teens breaking into their early twenties. It was a real nice job especially for the pay, and just like any precision painter, these gals refined the tip of the brush in between strokes in with their lips. This paint was no ordinary paint. It was made with radium, an element discovered by Marie Curie. The fate of all of these girls would be the same. Slowly each of them developed a fatal illness that makes cancer looks like a punk. It started with their teeth getting loose, and their jaw being in intense, miserable pain, swollen and inflamed constantly. Then each of them developed holes in their jaw, like Swiss cheese. And that, is sadly just the early stages. Loss of the lower jaw, bone decay to the point of bone extraction, loss of all teeth, skin issues, permanent loss of the ability to walk, and care for most of their personal daily needs soon followed matched by immeasurable pain.
Our hero, Grace, she looks into the idea that this is cause by the watch painting factory. And some toxicologist on the US Radium payroll was sent to basically to access her, but he and his colleague lied, and reported nothing wrong with Grace. He lied first, by posing as a doctor when neither had a medical degree. His name was Frederick Flynn, and his "colleague" turned out to be the VP of radium. So after that, these brave women started to die, their death was blamed on syphilis. Their reputations were ruined. The worse thing, is unaffiliated doctors and dentists went along with this trend, and confirmed the diagnosis. I always say the only way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. This here is exactly what happened.
Lawsuits and law changes a little too late. Most of these girls died painfully with out justice and their reputations soiled. The ones that saw reparations, only received them for a few years until their untimely deaths. Their bodies where they are buried apparently are still radioactive by Geiger counter readings. Well these guys didn't get away with it. They knew working with radium was unsafe, but did not conduct testing of the paint with radium added, and tried to sweep the girls under the rug. You can read the rest here. They have pics, documentation, the full story. I can't continue, writing what I did write made me sick.
You may be thinking, "but what does this have to do with cosmetics?" Well it was in toothpaste for starters, and anything from bleaching creams, to anti aging, to vitality water and.... lipstick. I would say, "big mistake, big!"
What did the FDA finally respond to this by doing? 1938 Food Drug and Cosmetic Act This basically makes deceptive marketing and packaging unlawful. And companies only get a slap on the hands as mentioned by Randy and Perry. This is why I have a problem with only mentioning to people it's safe...enough guys... I feel we should have a totally counter approach, testing the crap out of things until we know what we're dealing with.
Guess what is still legal, and what is still being put in products at smaller amounts? You got it. Radium. Even if it's not in "unsafe amounts", which I find debatable, did these girls fight and die to get nothing changed as far as testing? Well correct me if I'm wrong guys, but radium is one of those special little elements that is radioactive and sits on a pretty long life span known as a half life. So even in small increments it's poison as it adds up over the span of one's life.
http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceRegulation/LawsRegulations/ucm127406.htm#prohibited - a list of ingredients the FDA has banned. I have read women's tee shirts that list more than this! THANK GOODNESS Chloroform is banned so my perfumes don't literally make me a knock out, instead of just figuratively.
That's just my opinion. And when you consider little hiccups like asbestos, the radium disease, and other.... Idk, it gets under my skin. No play on words intended. Products should be safe for anyone despite age, illness, or environmental or occupational exposure. I hope this will illuminate you to our past, so we don't continue the same future.