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U. S. Department of Commerce Charles Sawyer, Secretary
National Bureau of Standards E. U. Condon, Director
Safe Handling of
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. The Advisory Committee on X-ray and Radium Protection was formed in 1928 under the sponsorship of the National Bureau of Standards and with the cooperation of the leading radiological organizations upon the recommendation of the International Commission for Radiological Protection. The Committee, small in size, functioned effectively until the advent of atomic energy which introduced a large number of new and serious problems in the field of radiation protection.
At a meeting of this Committee in December 1946, the representatives of the various participating organizations agreed that the problems in radiation protection had become so manifold that the Committee should enlarge its scope and membership and should appropriately change its title to be more inclusive. Accordingly, at that time the name of the Committee was changed to the National Committee on Radiation Protection. At the same time the number of participating organizations was increased and the total membership considerably enlarged. In order to distribute the work load, eight working subcommittees were established as noted below. Each of these committees is charged with the responsibility of preparing protection recommendations in its particular field. The reports of the subcommittees are approved by the main committee before promulgation.
The following parent organizations and individuals com-
The following are the subcommittees:
Subcommittee 3. X-rays up to two million volts, H. O. Wyckoff,
chairman. Subcommittee 4. Heavy particles (neutrons, protons, and heavier),
Dean Cowie, chairman. Subcommittee 5. Electrons, gamma rays, and X-rays above two million
volts, L. Marinelli, chairman. Subcommittee 6. Handling of radioactive isotopes and fission products,
H. M. Parker, chairman. Subcommittee 7. Monitoring methods and instruments, H. L. Andrews,
chairman. Subcommittee 8. Waste disposal and decontamination.
With the increasing use of radioactive isotopes by industry, the medical profession, and research laboratories, it is essential that certain minimal precautions be taken to protect the users and the public. The recommendations contained in this handbook represent what is believed to be the best available opinions on the subject as of this date. As our experience with radioisotopes broadens, we will undoubtedly be able to improve and strengthen the recommendations for their safe handling and utilization.
Through the courtesy of the National Research Council about a year ago, several hundred draft copies of this report were circulated to all leading workers and authorities in the field for comment and criticism. The present handbook embodies all pertinent suggestions received from these people. Further comment will be welcomed by the committee.
One of the greatest difficulties encountered in the preparation of this handbook lay in the uncertainty regarding permissible radiation exposure levels—particularly for ingested radioactive materials. The establishment of sound figures for such exposure still remains a problem of high priority for many conditions and radioactive substances. Such figures as are used in this report represent the best available information today. If, in the future, these can be improved upon, appropriate corrections will be issued. The subject will be under continuous study by the two subcommittees mentioned above.
The present Handbook has been prepared by the Subcommittee on the Handling of Radioactive Isotopes and Fission Products. Its membership is as follows:
H. M. PARKER, Chairman. L. MARINELLI.
J. G. HAMILTON.
M. M. D. WILLIAMS.