Evolution of radiation protection for medical workers

Br J Radiol. 2020 Aug;93(1112):20200282. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20200282. Epub 2020 Jun 4.


Within a few months of discovery, X-rays were being used worldwide for diagnosis and within a year or two for therapy. It became clear very quickly that while there were immense benefits, there were significant associated hazards, not only for the patients, but also for the operators of the equipment. Simple radiation protection measures were implemented within a decade or two and radiation protection for physicians and other operators has continued to evolve over the last century driven by cycles of widening uses, new technologies, realization of previously unidentified effects, development of recommendations and regulations, along with the rise of related societies and professional organizations. Today, the continue acceleration of medical radiation uses in diagnostic imaging and in therapeutic modalities not imagined at the turn of this century, such as positron emission tomography, calls for constant vigilance and flexibility to provide adequate protection for the growing numbers of medical radiation workers.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Personnel*
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Radiation Protection / history*