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December 1957

Current Philosophy Regarding Radiation Hazard

AMA Arch Derm. 1957;76(6):699-701. doi:10.1001/archderm.1957.01550240017003

During the past very few years a 50-year-old philosophy regarding radiation hazard has undergone an astounding and probably well warranted change. I review, with a red countenance, reports I made years ago which stated that a radiation hazard did not exist because the radiation level at the point of interest was below that necessary to produce an "erythema." With the exception of a very few voices to the contrary, the accepted criterion of safety was the absence of this erythema. In another application, hunts for the recovery of lost radium were based on the desire of the insurance company or of the uninsured physician to avoid monetary loss. These ideas have changed radically. Today no one even remotely includes "erythema" as one of the basic guideposts to radiation hazard. We have set our sights on far lower levels of exposure. The present basis of a radium hunt is

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