The `Radium Girls

In+the+theater+class%2C+students+learn+about+the+history+of+the+radium+girls-+and+begin+to+form+groups.++
In the theater class, students learn about the history of the radium girls- and begin to form groups.

In the theater class, students learn about the history of the radium girls- and begin to form groups.

Madison Jackson

Madison Jackson

In the theater class, students learn about the history of the radium girls- and begin to form groups.

Meaghan Exantus, staff writer

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Mill Creek’s Theater will be presenting “Radium Girls,” a play in reference to an actual event in 1917. The Radium Girls were female factory workers who were exposed to lethal amounts of radium- through the self-luminous paint they utilized in coating watch dials. They often ingested the paint when “pointing” their brushes. The instruction to do so came from factory owners, who claimed rags, or water rinses were detrimental to the conservation of the material. 

Radium contains dangerous gamma, as well as beta particles, that can lead to radiation poisoning. The emission of the isotope doesn’t always lead to exposure of it however, since radium is naturally occurring in nature; it can be found sparingly throughout the environment.

Essentially, they used their lips to bring the hairs of their brushes together; others painted their nails, face and teeth. These “shining girls” were assured that the lustrous material would not pose any threat to them, but the claim was soon discredited when many of them contracted forms of what is now known to be radiation poisoning. Five women of the New Jersey factory challenged their employer over the contraction of occupational diseases, and won the court case in 1938.

The story is rife with principles of labors rights, women empowerment, and the technological innovations that took place in the 20th century.

The ‘Friends and Family’ performance is October 20th at 6:30 PM, they will be performing at a competition October 4th and 5th at 7:00. The ticket price has not yet been announced.

“I feel like it plays a decent role in history! This show is based on a true story and everything you know? It’s very empowering female-wise to know about how hard these women worked- to not be treated like how they were and even though they were being killed off aimlessly, they were still fighting.” -Regan Kulig, Junior.

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