From its discovery by Marie Curie, radium was treated as some sort of wonder element. Capable of preventing disease, being used by quacks and doctors alike, it had thousands of uses. All that was to change by the 1920s. As radiation poisoning was being studied seriously, the deadly effects of radium were known and the wonder element was beginning to be feared. What of the legacy today? There are over 500 sites in the UK alone where radium was used or produced, all contaminated in some way. Some of these sites have been re-developed with no regard for the danger they pose or in ignorance of their past. On at least one heavily contaminated site, a housing project has been built.
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