BECAUSE of the considerable complexity of the field of radiation hazards, no one of us is able to explore every aspect in the detail necessary for a complete understanding. I shall discuss details that pertain to public health.
The swift changes in the field of science affect our personal roles. Speaking personally, some years ago I was one of the principal architects in the national community-wide mass x-ray survey program. I now find myself in the present position of discouraging such a special type of effort, except of course for particular population groups where that technique clearly carries more benefit than it does risk.
One theme that is worthy of special mention concerns the role that the physician—and today it is the pediatrician in particular—needs to exercise in the important field of radiological health. During the spring of 1960, the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy of the 86th Congress conducted open public hearings for nearly 2 weeks on the subject of radiation protection standards. Some of us present at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Pediatrics participated in the hearings, as well as in others held earlier. Frequent references were made to the important work of Dr. Friedell's special ad hoc committee of the National Committee on Radiation Protection and Measurements dealing with human population exposure to the radionuclide, strontium-90 (published in Science, 131:3399, 1960); that important document should be read and re-read. At the hearings we tried to represent the profession of medicine and public health. It is worthy of note that ours was only one of many professions to appear.
- Copyright © 1961 by the American Academy of Pediatrics