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January 7, 1961

Levels of Radiation

Author Affiliations

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

From the Medical Division, Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies, under contract with the United States Atomic Energy Commission.

JAMA. 1961;175(1):36-39. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.63040010001009

The FIRST professional radiation scare occurred in 1905. It was followed by a public radiation hysteria. This was excusable. The professional scientists and physicians who were then working with radiation were working with something that was largely unknown. The second wave of radiation hysteria occurred in about 1925. This, to a certain extent, was excusable also. We were just then beginning to define the ideas of quantity and quality of radiation. The professional radiation scare that is just now subsiding is not excusable. We have had 50 years of radiation experience and everything we know about radiation protection was already well known to many professional people and had been thoroughly discussed in the professional literature before World War II. The current wave of public radiation hysteria is less than excusable, for it appears to have been manufactured. The reason that it could have been manufactured is apparently due to the

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