PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Editorial use only.
Radium compress. Early 20th Century Q-Ray Electro-Radioactive Dry Compress. During the early 20th Century, radiation was considered the ultimate health cure. This compress pad was sold as a treatment for rheumatism, back pain, sciatica, and arthritis, among other things. It was marketed as providing the user with the best of two worlds: the curative radiations from radium and the soothing effects of a heat pad. However, as it contains the highly radioactive element radium it is a toxic health hazard and carcinogen.
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