Book Review #1: For the Joy of Sharing

Radium Girls by Kate Moore

By Ahana Raghavan
Grade 9 Student, USA

Hi, my name is Ahana Raghavan, a 14-year-old from the United States. To put it simply, I am a stationery fanatic who loves to play the piano. I am also on the Science Olympiad team, on a robotics team, and on the local debate team. In my spare time, I am also a Sochcaster who loves to create content on websites and volunteer in my local community. Writing is a hobby that brings me pure joy, and I hope readers find ecstasy when reading my articles.

Radium Girls by Kate Moore

This was a haunting description of the lack of regard in the corporate world. By repeating the eerie phrase, “Lip, dip, paint.”, the victims of radium poisoning talk about how they believed it was a fun job, and they never learned that radium was toxic. Their bosses kept it a secret. As the brilliant author Kate Moore unravels the story, we begin to learn that those who couldn’t stay silent had to pay the price. Reports were hidden, workers were told that the radium was good for them, and a lack of awareness was promoted by the power-hungry companies. Even the cause of death of one employee was misdiagnosed by oblivious doctors who could not determine how radium could do such a thing.

We also find out that some women decided to speak out. Gaining access to lab reports, gathering amongst each other, and more were some of the myriad ways through which they used to spark a revolution. By narrating the stories of powerful women who knew not to stay silent, Kate Moore teaches us that anyone can be a trailblazer, as long as they have the right motivation and ambitions. Over the course of 12 years, they eventually were able to successfully sue one of the major companies responsible.

In 1925, a pathologist determined that radium was in fact toxic and was slowly attacking the bodies of the workers. But nobody listened. Then, in 1927, an attorney accepted their case. The radium dial company still denied any and all claims. Finally, in 1937, Catherine Wolfe Donohue achieved the goal. Donohue and others paved the way for occupational safety standards. Their story even led to the formation of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and numerous reforms pertaining to safety at work. Thanks to the Radium Girls, occupational safety has been promoted as a key issue, and people have fought for science to be valued, not hidden.

Overall, this was a fantastic book, and I hope whoever reads it enjoys it as much as I did!

By Ahana Raghavan
Grade 9 Student, USA

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