Radium Girls— Living in the Plume of the Smelter
Using the film Radium Girls as a lens, Communities for a Healthy Bay's Erin Dilworth expands on the history of the Asarco Smelter and the future of the Tacoma tide flats. With a longstanding and continuing legacy of contaminated soil, polluted water, and the impacts of expanding fossil fuels, what does environmental justice look like for the residents of Tacoma and how do we work towards it?
When mysterious ailments strike a dial painter at American Radium, a dark truth emerges: She is not the first in the watch factory to fall ill. Her sister's legal fight against the corporation in 1928 launched workplace safety reforms and closer study of the dangers of radioactivity.
Based on true events of the 1920’s, Radium Girls stars Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Joey King and Abby Quinn as Bessie and Jo Cavallo, sisters who dream of Hollywood and Egyptian pyramids as they work painting luminous watch dials at the American Radium factory in New Jersey. When Jo loses a tooth, Bessie’s world is turned upside down as a mystery slowly unravels. She discovers a corporate cover-up and, in a radical coming-of-age story, Bessie and the Radium Girls decide to take on American Radium. Based on historical events, the national sensation following the notorious case of the Radium Girls in 1928 ultimately led to significant and lasting impact in the area of workplace health and safety and the study of radioactivity.
Radium Girls marks the feature directorial debuts of Emmy-winning and Academy-Award nominated producer Lydia Dean Pilcher and filmmaker Ginny Mohler, who co-wrote the award-winning original screenplay for Radium Girls with Brittany Shaw. The film made its world premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.
Banner image courtesy of Juno Films
About the Speaker
As the Policy and Technical Program Manager at Communities for a Healthy Bay (CHB), Erin Dilworth researches and analyzes environmental issues at the local and regional level, working closely with CHB�s Policy and Technical Advisory Committee. Erin serves on the Stakeholder & Tribal Advisory Group for MTCA Cleanup Rule Update, the Pierce County Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the Tideflats Subarea Plan Advisory Group. In her spare time, you can find Erin on the coast, at a local brewery, or with her cats Paka and Bug.