Glenn Seaborg was the first to take precautions while handling plutonium, using gloves and a mask. He remembered the tragic experiences of the young women who, while painting luminous numbers onto clock faces with brushes dipped in radium, contracted tongue cancer by licking the tips of the radioactive brushes. The custom between 1941 and 1944 was to handle plutonium practically bare-handed. The quantities were fortunately very small, as plutonium is some million times more radioactive than uranium. Despite the appalling blindness to danger, however, there was no noticeable increase in the mortality rate among the workers and many were still alive in 1980, forty years later.