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May 10, 1958


JAMA. 1958;167(2):220. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.02990190074017

NTEREST in radiation hazards has increased in recent years because of the new awareness of the possibility of somatic damage from exposure to small doses of penetrating ionizing radiations, evidence of an increase in the mutation rate of offspring from parents exposed to such radiations, and the increasing exposure to which the entire population is subjected.1 A small and until recently unimportant background irradiation has always been a part of our environment. To that was added exposure through the diagnostic use of x-rays. We now have the growing problem of radioactive industrial wastes and fallout from nuclear weapons testing. Of these, the hazards from industrial wastes are by far the greatest.

In a comprehensive review of the acute radiation syndrome Gerstner2 states that all types of penetrating ionizing radiations singly or combined produce one specific clinical picture. This is characterized within two hours after exposure by a sudden