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Books, Journals, New Media
May 2, 2001

Radiation Protection HistoryPermissible Dose: A History of Radiation Protection in the Twentieth Century

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 2001;285(17):2258. doi:10.1001/jama.285.17.2258-JBK0502-5-1

Permissible Dose: A History of Radiation Protection in the Twentieth Century, by J. Samuel Walker, historian for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), is a well-researched account of scientific, political, and public interactions in the development of protective standards for ionizing radiation for the Manhattan Project and its successor agencies.

The author does not discuss standards development for workers exposed to radium, radon, and medical x-ray (just mentions them) or the influence that corporate profits have had on the setting of permissible doses for some radiation exposures and many chemically toxic agents. For radiation in government settings, agencies can pass the cost of enforcing low exposure standards on to taxpayers, but, in the private sector, that cost affects profits, and corporations are known to delay the setting of standards and work to keep permissible doses high.

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