"Radium City" to be shown in Canton on Monday
Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 2:27 pm

CANTON -- The Occupational Health Clinical Center of the North Country will present a showing of the documentary film “Radium City” at 7 p.m. April 28 in the Unitarian-Universalist Church, 3½ East Main St.

The event is open to the public and refreshments will be served.

The film tells the story of the girls who, in the 1920’s, worked at a factory in Ottawa, Illinois, painting watch and clock faces with radium-infused paint, in order to make the time pieces glow in the dark. The girls ultimately paid for their labor with their lives.

In 1926, radium was considered a miracle cure, because Madame Curie had discovered that it could shrink cancerous tumors. At first, the factory owners could not believe that this same element could cause the rash of terrifying illnesses that beset their employees.

Once the connection between the radium in the paint and the disfiguring cancers that took the lives of so many young women could not be denied, some of the girls sued the company. The true story of these young female workers who tried, as they were dying, to have their voices heard over the voices of corporate power is a powerful tribute.

Their courage led to laws which finally required companies to be responsible for the safety of their workers. Enforcement is far from perfect. There are still safety issues facing workers today. The discussion following the film will address safety issues in the modern workplace.

International Workers' Memorial Day takes place annually on April 28. It is an opportunity to highlight the preventable nature of most workplace accidents and ill health and to promote campaigns and union organizations in the fight for improvements in workplace safety. It has been observed in the US since 1989.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), more than two million men and women die as a result of work-related accidents and diseases each year across the globe. Workers suffer approximately 270 million accidents each year, and fall victim to some 160 million incidents of -related illnesses. Hazardous substances kill 440,000 workers annually – asbestos claims 100,000 lives. Globally, more people die while at work than in fighting wars.

In New York State, occupational disease is the fourth leading cause of death. Exposure to asbestos, chemicals, solvents, dust (coal, talc, asbestos, sawdust, etc.) metals, noise, and radiation on the job can all impact worker health.

The Occupational Health Clinical Center of the North Country is located at 39 West Main St. OHCC offers a full range of health and safety preventions services. For more information, contact: Relani Prudhomme, the Outreach/Education Coordinator, at 714-2049.