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Medical News
May 18, 1964

Natural Isotopes Greater Radiation Hazard Than Fallout

JAMA. 1964;188(7):37. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060330099052

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Natural radioactive isotopes give Americans a bigger dose of radiation every year than radioactive fallout provides, although the dose from fallout is a "significant fraction" of the natural dose, an Atomic Energy Commission scientist told the American Medical Association Congress on Environmental Health Problems in Chicago, May 2. The Congress represented one of the first efforts to outline environmental health problems for the practicing physician and emphasize his role in evaluation and prevention.

John H. Harley, MD, director of the AEC Health and Safety Laboratory, New York, reported the studies which centered on fallout contamination through diet—the principle avenue by which the population is exposed to fallout, he said.

The AEC investigation was devoted principally to measurements of three nucleides, Harley said, strontium 90, cesium 137, and iodine 131.

There has been doubt in the past that measurements and estimates of radioactive contamination in man can

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