• Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

The radium water worked fine until his jaw fell off!


Apr 21, 2023

In 1927, Eben Byers, a rich American socialite, athlete, industrialist, and Yale School graduate, fell up and doing of a prepare and injured his arm, which might have impaired his efficiency in sports activities and his every day actions. To ease the ache, a health care provider prescribed him a drink known as ‘Radithor’.

Ebenezer McBurney Byers, born on April 12, 1880, was an American socialite, sportsman, and industrialist. He gained the 1906 U.S. Beginner in golf. © Wikimedia Commons

Radithor – a remedy for the dwelling useless!

Radithor: The radium water worked fine until his jaw fell off! 2
Radithor. © Wikimedia Commons

Within the early 1900s, the radioactive factor Radium was believed to have extremely healing properties. J.J. Thompson, the man who discovered the electron, wrote about the presence of radioactivity in well water in 1903. This result in the invention that most of the world’s most well-known well being springs have been radioactive resulting from “radium emanation” – radon gasoline – within the floor the place the water flowed.

This was broadly accepted within the scientific group again then. They believed that the radiation coming from the springs was chargeable for its therapeutic powers and therapeutic results.

In consequence, the radium water known as Radithor was manufactured from 1918 to 1928 by the Bailey Radium Laboratories, Inc. of East Orange, New Jersey. The proprietor of the corporate and head of the laboratories was William J. A. Bailey, a dropout from Harvard School, who was not a medical physician. It was marketed as “A Treatment for the Dwelling Lifeless” in addition to “Perpetual Sunshine”. The costly product was claimed to remedy impotence amongst different ills, together with continual diarrhea, ache resulting from accidents, madness, ageing, and so forth.

Radithor labored high quality

By coincidence or placebo, Byers’ ache disappeared and he attributed it to the miraculous therapeutic of Radithor, which was basically radio diluted in water. It consisted of triple distilled water containing at a minimal 1 microcurie every of the radium 226 and 228 isotopes.

After that, Byers satisfied himself of the great advantages of the drink and moved on to sending bins of the product to co-workers and girlfriends. He even gave Radithor to his horses. He himself claimed to have drank 1,400 bottles of 15ml (which was very costly). It actually labored high quality.


After a couple of years, Byers was going to undergo probably the most weird and depressing interval of his life. He began losing a few pounds, having complications and lots of of his enamel began falling out: All of Byers higher jaw besides two entrance enamel, and most of his decrease jaw simply fell out. All of the remaining bone tissue of his physique was disintegrating and holes have been forming in his cranium. He knew his case was terminal weeks earlier than he died at age 51, when solely six of his high enamel nonetheless remained in his physique.

Byers died on March 31, 1932, from radium poisoning and numerous forms of cancers additionally as an inevitable consequence of Radithor use.

What occurred subsequent?

For the following few a long time, the radioactive charlatanism trade had nonetheless been asserting its usefulness within the medical subject, steadily attempting to broaden itself into the market. However when Byers’ physique was exhumed in 1965 for examine, it simply shocked the medical world.

Byers’ stays have been nonetheless extremely radioactive and measured at 225,000 becquerels (1 becquerels = one nucleus decays per second). As a comparability, the roughly 0.0169 g of potassium-40 current in a typical human physique produces roughly 4,400 becquerels. When speaking about radioactivity in meals merchandise, 3,700 becquerels (bq) per kilogram of meat is a big quantity and consequently considered to be lethal.

After Byers’ loss of life, many different medical doctors testified to the dangerous results of radiation; and this stunning discover led to the strengthening of the Food and Drug Administration’s powers and the demise of most radiation-based patent medicines. To reduce the well being dangers to different individuals, Byers needed to be buried in a lead casket.

What occurred to its inventor?

On the opposite facet, the inventor of Radithor, William J. A. Bailey, repeatedly insisted (even after Byers’ depressing loss of life) that his drink was secure till he died of bladder most cancers, in 1949. When medical researchers additionally exhumed his physique 20 years later, they discovered that his intestines have been ravaged by radiation and that his stays have been nonetheless heat!

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