Remembering the Radium Girls

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The Radium Girls monument in Ottawa, IL commemorates the young women who worked in the Radium Dial Company factory during the early 20th century. These women were employed to paint watch dials with radium-based paint and were encouraged to shape the paintbrush tips with their lips to produce a fine point. Over time, many of these women developed serious health problems, including radiation poisoning, bone fractures, and various cancers. Despite their debilitating illnesses, the Radium Girls fought for justice and took legal action against the Radium Dial Company. Their efforts helped bring about significant improvements in industrial safety standards and workers' rights and their legacy continues to inspire and inform public health and workplace safety policies today.