10. Radioactive Radium Nail Polish
One of the many tragedies of the 20th century was the treatment of the Radium Girls, from the cover-up of the evidence of cancer to the drawn-out lawsuits that were necessary to provide justice to the girls sickened and killed by the industrial use of radium paints. The Radium Girls suffered from incredibly painful illnesses and deaths from anemia and disfiguring osteosarcomas. Many of the girls had to watch their mouths and jaws rot away from the constant exposure to the paint from sharpening the brush tips with their mouths.
Despite the evidence that radium corporations had at the time, radium was still heralded as borderline miraculous in the early 20th century. Some drew biblical analogies to its magical glow, while others believed it was a panacea. The working class girls hired to staff the watch dial factories were the envies of their towns, with some wealthy girls even applying to work for a day or two to be part of the magical scene and gain exposure to the wonder of radium.
A typical behavior among the young women in the factories was playing with the radium. While this is horrifying to think about now, these women had been told the radium was completely safe. Before significant dates on Friday nights, many of the Radium Girls would paint their fingernails or even their lips with radium paint so they would have brightly glowing nails and makeup. Their clothes also glimmered from the radium dust they picked up on the shop floor. Tragically, very few of those girls survived past their 20s or 30s.