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Permissible DoseA History of Radiation Protection in the Twentieth Century$
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Samuel Walker

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780520223288

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520223288.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The Discovery of Radiation and Its Hazards

The Discovery of Radiation and Its Hazards

(p.1) Chapter One The Discovery of Radiation and Its Hazards
Permissible Dose

J. Samuel Walker

University of California Press

Exposure to x-rays could cause serious bodily injury. Some physicians have noticed inexplicable burns on the bodies of patients after lengthy exposure to x-rays. Within two decades after they were first used, scientists and physicians concluded that exposure to x-rays could cause sterility, bone disease, cancer, and other harmful consequences. The hazards of x-rays were further underscored by the findings of the pioneering geneticist H. J. Muller, whose research with fruit flies during the 1920s indicated that reproductive cells were highly susceptible to damage from even small amounts of radiation. A similar pattern followed the discovery of the element radium. After an initial outpouring of public excitement and promiscuous misuse, the hazards of exposure gradually became apparent. Experiments with x-rays led to the discovery of natural radioactivity in 1896.

Keywords:   x-ray, hazards, damage, discovery, radium

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