Radium: A Controversial Element In America's History

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Over one hundred years ago, in 1911, a French-polish woman was awarded not her first but second Nobel Peace Prize. This time for discovering a new element. She was awarded, “"in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element." This was and still is a fascinating and remarkable element. Radium has had an intense history of misuse which led to tragic effects on many, but once used properly it has become essential for the treating of certain cancers. Radium has been a controversial element in America’s history but in the end it has proven useful. The focus of this paper will be Radium:…show more content…
After working for the factory, she noticed that her teeth were falling out and her jaw was both swollen and inflamed. She didn’t connect the dots soon enough. She visited a doctor and what he found was sickening. Her jaw had almost completely decayed. It looked like moth eaten fabric. She also noticed that all the other victims with similar symptoms had one thing in common: they all had been employed at the New Jersey watch painting factory. In 1925 she started to look into this connection with U.S. Radium. Unknown to her, the owners and scientists knew about the effects of radium and took precautions for themselves. A man named Frederick Flynn asked to see her when he found out that she was investigating. He saw her into his office and gave her an exam. He declared her completely healthy and said that nothing was wrong with her at all. Turns out, Flynn wasn’t even a doctor. He wasn’t licensed to practice medicine at all. He was instead working for U.S. Radium. This showed that the factory definitely had something to hide and the public was becoming growingly…show more content…
And radium if used correctly has amazing benefits for the medical field. Radium bromide is the most important radium compound. It is used as a source for alpha-rays for the treatment of localized cancers. Radium chloride or radium bromide is inserted into the diseased tissue in order to damage any foreign matter. Radon is a product of radium decomposition and is used in radiotherapy. Currently, it is the leading treatment for prostate cancer patients. “Radium-223 is an alpha particle-emitting drug that is used to treat advanced prostate cancer” . It goes by the name, Xofigo°®. It tends to be used mainly when the cancer has spread to bones after surgeries. The drug is injected into a vein once a month for six months. It omits radioactive particles that are similar to calcium thus they bind with minerals already in the bones. They then omit radiation which is aimed at the tumor and it limits the damage that the tumor has on the tissues near to it. The drug is used mainly when there is no other option for treating the cancer. Radium-223 is approved by the FDA for the treatment of “Prostate cancer that has spread (metastasized) to their bones after surgery or other treatments to lower testosterone” In the same way radium is occasionally used for ovarian cancer and
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