We acknowledge the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation are the Traditional Owners of the land on which our music is written and produced. We acknowledge sovereignty has never been ceded. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future.
About Radium Girls
Melbourne band The Orbweavers unveil their haunting new single Radium Girls, with a video by Berlin-based Australian artist, animator and award-winning music-video director Lucy Dyson.
The song and accompanying video tell the story of a group of women factory workers known as the ‘Radium Girls’, who were employed to paint luminous dials in the - . Radium, number 88 in the periodic table of the elements, is radioactive, toxic, and was historically used to paint luminous dials for watches, clocks and aircraft instrument panels.
About the Song Radium Girls
Radium dial painters were encouraged to lick their paint brushes to keep a fine point, without realising they were ingesting toxic amounts of radium. In the body, radium mimics calcium, and is absorbed by bone marrow.
Over time the dial companies became aware of the health hazards of radium based paint, but continued to use it without providing adequate occupational safety controls. Workers became seriously ill as a result of their exposure, took their employers to court, and eventually won - but not after gruelling court trials where their illnesses were doubted by their employers. International health and safety regulations for occupational exposure to radioactive materials developed as a result of the ‘Radium Girls’ case.
The use of radium paint for luminous dials was eventually banned, but not before many workers died of exposure related illness.
Subjects: poisons, mining, industrial history, occupational health & safety, clockwork.