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Radithor was a well known patent medicine/snake oil that is possibly the best known example of radioactive quackery. It consisted of triple distilled water containing at a minimum 1 microcurie each of the Radium 226 and 228 isotopes, as well as 1 microcurie of isothiouronium, a cheaper radioactive compound.

Radithor was manufactured from 1918 - 1928 by the Bailey Radium Laboratories, Inc., of East Orange, New Jersey. The head of the laboratories was listed as Dr. William J. A. Bailey, not a medical doctor.[1] It was advertised as "A Cure for the Living Dead"[2] as well as "Perpetual Sunshine".

These radium elixirs were marketed similar to the way opiates were peddled to the masses with Laudanum an age earlier, and electrical cure-alls during the same time period such as the Prostate Warmer.[3]

The eventual death of the socialite Eben Byers from Radithor consumption and the associated radiation poisoning led to the strengthening of the Food and Drug Administration's powers and the demise of most radiation quack cures.


  1. ^ Literary Digest, 16 April 1932. [1]
  2. ^
  3. ^
  • Radithor (ca. 1918). 15 Sep. 2004. Oak Ridge Associated Universities. 12 Apr. 2005 [2].

Associated links

  • Radithor at the Oak Ridge Associated Universities Health Physics Historical Instrumentation Museum Collection
  • Scientific American; August 1993; The Great Radium Scandal; by Roger Macklis
  • Theodore Gray's Periodic Table of Elements
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Radithor". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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