Results were communicated later - and radium, radon levels were more elevated especially at the old Marie Curie's house. However, nothing had been done following these findings.
Several areas in the city with radium and other radioactive materials have been found (older and newer dumps really!). Some areas are blocked off with radioactive signs, some houses have been destroyed for safety now.
Both our families moved. Note that the house also is at chemin du radium in France.
My friend's family and mine have left a few years later. All that to say, even recently there was still very little awareness and safety precautions being taken.
Some reference: http://www.franceinfo.fr/emission/le-plus-france-info/2013-2...
"We should celebrate scientists not solely for their accomplishments but also for their courage and the tenacity required to discover anything at all. There are brave people out there working right now. They are brave not because they are killing themselves slowly or leaping from airplanes or catching rare tropical diseases, although scientists have done all those things. They are brave because of the intense emotional risks of trying to do something no one has done before by following your own lead. Radiation is a potent allegory for human life. Everything is always, inevitably falling apart; we are all in arrested decay. Our greatest achievements may become at best footnotes; few people remember us; we can’t know what will eventually come of our work."
And yet the human race is always, inevitably improving in every conceivable measure as a consequence of this individual sacrifice.
How awful is this ? I had never realized radiation had been so misunderstood back then...
You might be interested in http://www.academia.edu/3586500/Half-Lives_The_Rise_and_Fall... , which writes that
> Prescribed Radithor by his doctor in 1928, Byers was dead by 1932 (aged 51), with his autopsy revealing that he had consumed approximately 1,400 bottles in afew short years — at least one every day. Radithor was a radium drinking solution promoted by one Dr. William Bailey (a fake name) whose products did in fact contain significant amounts of the element. The recognition that rich patients — and not just female industrial dial painters — were dying because of these products led “the federal government to act with far greater alacrity to help consumers than to assist workers.”
The comment about the jaw coming off reminds me of a story about phosphorus as a tonic:
> [I]n 1931 a Dr. G. Coltart wrote to the Lancet about an interesting case. A patient of his had come to him in 1904 complaining of feeling run down and so the doctor had prescribed a popular brand of tonic pills that contained both elemental phosphorous and strychnine but told the patient to stop taking them if the strychnine made him twitch. The patient had returned twenty-seven years later with an advanced case of phossy jw, the industrial disease that afflicted those in the match-making industrys, having taken the pills regularly during the intervening years. Asked why he had taken the pills for so long, he replied that he continued with them because they had never caused him to twitch! ("The Shocking History of Phosphorous", John Emsley, p. 58.)
The comment about the FDA reminds me of the 1937 Elixir Sulfanilamide tragedy. As the WSJ article points out, the FDA only had the power to regulate adulterants or false advertising. They only had the authority to track down the toxic Elixir Sulfanilamide because it, technically speaking, was not an elixir. Hence why they couldn't control the sales of radium water which truly did contain radium.
(With free market beliefs, the idea was that the customer should decide, not the government.)
And the speculation about the possible stimulative effect echos the 1925 publication in JAMA by Martland, et al.,at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=238584 :
> Minute particles of the radioactive substances ... produce, for a period of time, seemingly curative or stimulative reactions, to be followed later by exhaustion and destruction of the blood producing centers.
Without the ability to measure things, I think you made the safer choice.
One would also help in checking for radioactive glaze used on Fiestaware plates.
We would be better served by the condemnation of lethal stupidity than the hollow glorification of scientific "heroes". We need the truth more than we need role models.
> Martland, on the other hand, emerged as a champion against any internal medical use of radium, alerting the AMA to its potential dangers as early as 1925
That's "Some Unrecognized Dangers in the Use and Handling of Radioactive Substances", at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=238584 . It includes:
> when long lived radioactive substances are introduced into the body ... death may follow a long time after, from the effects of constant irradiation on the blood-forming centers.
Joliot-Curie was awarded her doctorate in 1924.
Does anyone know if this is correct? The article mentions that they knew radiation would kill tumors; did they know it just killed everything, but would kill the thing it was closest to fastest, or did they think it had magical specificity? Perey noted that francium would accumulate in tumors; did she know that tumors have faster metabolisms (the basis of a lot of treatments today) or did she think it had magical tumor seeking properties? If they were in fact ignorant by today's standards, were they ignorant by their own's?