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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Radium Girls

File this one under "Corporate Malfeasance" (in the worst way).

Here is a fascinating and horrific story about the radiation poisoning suffered by the employees of US Radium. The early glow-in-the-dark watch dials were in fact radioactive, and the women who painted those dials paid a heavy price.

While it is terrible that this happened at all, what is truly horrific is how the company tried to cover up the problem, fake medical results, modify safety reports, ruin the reputations of the sick women, and continued to poison their employees even after it was brought to their attention.

It is these kind of stories - and there are far too many of them (examples: James Hardie asbestos, Monsanto, Enron, Pfizer, etc.) - that prove to me that greed knows no bounds and that health, safety, and welfare of people (employees and/or general public) often takes a back seat to profit. Despite some of my Libertarian leanings I am convinced that responsible "self-regulating" corporations are as rare as honest used-car salesmen. For some reason people are willing to contribute to, or defend, deeds performed by a corporate avatar that they would never accept from an individual.

Link again.

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