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updated: 9/4/2011 9:16 AM

Memorial pays tribute to former factory employees

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Associated Press

OTTAWA -- A northern Illinois city has paid tribute to former factory employees who worked under dangerous conditions.

The Radium Girls memorial honors the women who worked at watch-painting plants for Radium Dial and Luminous Processes in the early 20th century. The women painted glow-in-the-dark watch dials using radium-laced paint. Many died of radium exposure from using their lips to hone their paintbrushes.

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The (Ottawa) Times reports the life-size bronze statue was unveiled Friday. It was placed near the former Luminous Processes factory plant.

Former employees also attended the unveiling. Gov. Pat Quinn proclaimed Friday Radium Girls Day in Illinois.

The memorial grew out of a class project by then-eight-grader Madeline Piller, who is now a freshman at the University of Illinois College of Engineering.

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Information from: The Daily Times, http://www.ottawadailytimes.com

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