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RADON CURE: Defunct gold and uranium mines south of Helena, Montana, attract ailing tourists, who bask in radioactive radon gas and drink radioactive water to improve their health. Each summer, hundreds of people, come to the radon health mines to relax and treat arthritis, lupus, asthma and other chronic cripplers. Visitor Ralph Clark at the Merry Widow Mine, which is a tunnel into the mountain, with a temperature that remains around 60 degrees in both winter and summer. The typical vacation at the Merry Widow Health Mine lasts anywhere from a week to two weeks and visitors are recommended to sit in the mine two or three times a day. Visitors also soak their feet in the freezing cold mineral waters or drink the mine water, which they claim is very productive to good health. The water at the Merry Widow Mine has been tested by the State Health Department and found to be pure for drinking purposes. The mineshaft touts radon levels as much as 175 times the federal safety standard for houses. The permitted total visit is determined by the radiation level of the particular mine. The average visitor is 72 years old. The mines appeal to "plain people," such as the Amish or the Mennonites, because of the "natural" healing aspects, the lack of commercialization, and the relatively low cost-per-hour for treatment sessions. MODEL RELEASED (1991)