Gullible customers could buy creams, powders and elixirs containing radioactive materials – and the ads promised health and beauty but not quite eternal life.
In Germany, the Berlin company Urgesellschaft produced Duramad toothpaste, which contained some radioactive thorium, from the 1920s onwards. According to the company, the material guarantees bright white teeth, healthy gums, and keeps teeth strong for life.
American loses his jaw
However, over time, it turned out that eating radioactive products was a bad idea. One of the worst examples comes from the United States.
After three years of using the painkiller Radithor, which contains radium, American industrialist Eben Byers became seriously ill.
First he lost his hair, then his teeth, then his entire jaw. He finally died in 1932.
However, these types of stories have been overshadowed by the frenzy of advertisements for radiation miracle cures. For Auergesellschaft, toothpaste sales in the 1930s exceeded all expectations, which is why the Germans went searching for thorium in France in 1944.
Enthusiasm for radioactive products did not disappear until the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
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