Glow In The Dark Clock Hands The classic case of radiation poisoning. Radium was painted on the hands of clocks, so they would glow in the dark. The radium was painted by women, who had the bad habit of licking the brush tips to form them, ingesting the radium. /////////////////////////// Radioactive Record Album Dusters Way back in ancient times, before the compact disc, primitive man listened to recorded music by playing large (up to a foot in diameter) vinyl discs with grooves engraved in them. A diamond tipped needle rested in the groove, and was vibrated by variations in the groove, corresponding to the audio being recorded. Well, enough ancient history... the point is dust would get on the record, and this was a bad thing, as it caused pops and crackles when played back. Rubbing the dust off was a bad idea, it would scratch the vinyl. Radiation to the rescue! A brush was sold with trace amounts of polonium in it. This would create a small electrical charge on the brush, which would attract the dust and safely remove it from the record. These brushes are still sold. Polonium has a very short half life, so the useful life of the brush is probably a few years at the most. It appears that the NRC licensing requires the manufacturer to take back the brush, but I suspect that many of them end up in the trash.