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Incidental findings special feature

The British X-ray and Radium Protection Committee


In April 1898 a Committee, appointed by the Röntgen Society, collected evidence (“much of it confusing”) on the harmful effects of X rays. But whether owing to apathy or ignorance among X-ray workers, injuries and deaths continued to occur.

The position was aggravated during the First World War because many of the X-ray diagnostic sets in army use were of relatively primitive design and exposures often formidable in length. Further discussions were therefore promoted in 1915 and 1916 by the Röntgen Society, particularly on the question of protective devices for X-ray operators, and a memorandum was prepared calling the attention of Admiralty and War Office to this aspect of military service.

But no concerted action for civilian protection was undertaken until March 29, 1921, when a letter appeared in The Times written by Robert Knox on the need for forming a Protection Committee. The question was therefore again discussed informally by a group of persons really concerned to arrest the sequence of casualties to X-ray and radium workers, a problem to which Professor Russ had called attention in 1915. The group engaged in these discussions became the original British X-ray and Radium Protection Committee; at what precise date the members were recognised as a formal body is now not quite clear, but it was about April 1921.

Volume 26, Issue 311November 1953
Pages: 553-608

© The British Institute of Radiology


  • Published onlineJanuary 28,2014