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Radium was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898. It made headlines since it seemed to provide free light and energy. They even started using it as an additive in toothpaste and in some food items for its curative powers. More famously, it was used to make watch dials glow in the dark. It was later discovered that it is radioactve and has negative health effects.
See Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radium

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