The Birth and Control of X-Ray Products

S.L.B. Kent1 and M.A. Odlaug2 (1Food and Drug Administration; 2Washington Department of Health, Office of Radiation Protection)

Following Roentgen's early discovery of X-light (the well-known image of his wife's hand), the applications for the technology developed quickly. From that famous first radiograph, the imaging technology was used within weeks in the United States to diagnose a broken wrist. In the first half of the 1900s, rapid developments occurred in the equipment, such as changes in tube and transformer design as well as advances in film, and the introduction of the grid. In those early years, radiation injury to physicians and patients was observed ranging from erythema and skin injury, hair loss, anemia and in some cases fatalities. Radiation research and concerns about radiation safety were evidenced by the formation of national and international committees on radiation safety in the 1920s. These eventually led to radiation protection standards as well as responsibility for implementing them. This paper discusses the evolution of the technologies, traces the public health concerns that led to state and federal regulatory programs in the US and includes the milestones in standard setting.

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