10 Radioactive Products That People Actually Used
In 1898, Marie and Pierre Curie discovered Radium, and sice that time, it was a popular tonic added to everything from tea to lipstick. Before people understood that radiation exposure can be deadly, they’ve added radioactive elements to many products. They’ve made things glow and it was belived they can cure almost everything. Here are some of the amazing, disturbing radioactive products that people actually used.
1. ARIUM Radium Tablets
This little container covers forty-two radium tablets. The manufacturer, Associated Radium Chemists, Inc. of New York, stated in an advertisement that appeared in the February 9, 1923, that ARIUM tablets treat rheumatism, neuritis or neuralgia. Dosage? Two tablets with glass of water before or after each meal. It was necessary to take them regularly. The container cost only $1 at the time, and the manufacturer promised $5,000 reward if they fail.
Radithor was a patent medicine manufactured from 1918 to 1928 by the Bailey Radium Laboratories, Inc., of East Orange, New Jersey. The medicine is a well-known example of radioactive quackery that led to death of 51-year-old Eben Byers. Byers was a wealthy American socialite, athlete, industrialist and Yale College graduate, who fall on a train and complained of unremitting pain. A doctor prescribed him Radithor. He began taking it in large quantities. After three years he was so poisoned by radium that his jaw came off. Eben Byers was buried in a coffin with lead coating.
4. Radium Water
It was belived that radioactive drinking water was panacea for diseases. Radium water was called “liquid sunshine” because it was believed to be a magical elixir that could promote health.
5. Radium Bread
Radium bread was a normal bread but made with an addition of radium water. It was produced by the Hippmann-Blach bakery located in St. Joachimstal (now Jachymov, part of the Czech Republic). The amount of radium present in the bread was not dangerous.
6. Radium Chocolate Bar
The chocolade bar was was promoted for “its rejuvenation power”. Like the radium bread, the chocolade bar was produced with an addition of radium water. It was sold by Burk & Braun in Germany from 1931 to 1936.
7. Doramad Radioactive Toothpaste
Doramad Radioactive Toothpaste (Doramad Radioaktive Zahncreme) was produced in Germany by Auergesellschaft of Berlin from the 1920s through World War II. Unlike previous products, instead of radium, the toothpaste contained small amounts of thorium. It was belived that the radioactive content has better antibacterial action and strengthens teeth and gums.
8. Radium Watch Dials
In the early 1900s, the U.S. Radium Corporation employed young women to paint watch and clock faces with their radioluminescent paint containing radium-226. Workers were taught to shape paintbrushes by licking the bristles. This practice ended with severe radium ingestion causing facial bone disintegration and other dental problems.
9. The Radiendocrinator
Before inventing Viagra, the Radiendocrinator was a treatment for impotence. It was a booklet contained a number of plate in a size of a credit card coated in radium. Men were advised to put it under the scrotum and wear at night. William J. Bailey, inventor of the Radiendocrinator (and Radithor) died in 1949 of bladder cancer at the age of 64.
10. Tho-Radia Cosmetics
In 1933, Alexis Moussali and Alfred Curie (not related with Pierre and Marie Skłodowska-Curie) launched a line of radioactive beauty products called Tho-radia. The line included cleansing milk, skin cream, powder, rouge, lipstick and toothpaste. All products contained radioactive thorium chloride and radium bromide.