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Mettler, Fred A. Jr*; Thomadsen, Bruce R.; Bhargavan, Mythreyi; Gilley, Debbie B.§; Gray, Joel E.**; Lipoti, Jill A.††; McCrohan, John‡‡; Yoshizumi, Terry T.§§; Mahesh, Mahadevappa***

doi: 10.1097/01.HP.0000326333.42287.a2
Diagnostic Radiology I: Paper

Medical radiation exposure of the U.S. population has not been systematically evaluated for almost 25 y. In 1982, the per capita dose was estimated to be 0.54 mSv and the collective dose 124,000 person-Sv. The preliminary estimates of the NCRP Scientific Committee 6-2 medical subgroup are that, in 2006, the per capita dose from medical exposure (not including dental or radiotherapy) had increased almost 600% to about 3.0 mSv and the collective dose had increased over 700% to about 900,000 person-Sv. The largest contributions and increases have come primarily from CT scanning and nuclear medicine. The 62 million CT procedures accounted for 15% of the total number procedures (excluding dental) and over half of the collective dose. Nuclear medicine accounted for about 4% of all procedures but 26% of the total collective dose. Medical radiation exposure is now approximately equal to natural background radiation.

* Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Service, New Mexico VA Health Care System, 1501 San Pedro Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108; † Department of Medical Physics, 1530 Medical Science Center, 1300 University Avenue, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706; ‡ American College of Radiology, 1891 Preston White Drive, Reston, VA 20191; § State of Florida, 4052 Bald Cypress Way, BIN C21, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1741; ** DIQUAD, LLC, 222 Lakeview Court, Steger, IL 60475; †† New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Radiation Protection Programs, P.O. Box 415, Trenton, NJ 08625-0415; ‡‡ CDRH/FDA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 9200 Corporate Blvd, Rockville, MD 20850; §§ Duke University School of Medicine, DUMC Box 3155, 2214 Elder Street, Durham, NC 27710; *** Johns Hopkins Hospital, Department of Radiology, 601 N. Caroline Street, Baltimore, MD 21287-0856.

For correspondence contact: Fred A. Mettler, Jr., Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Service, NMVAHCS, 1501 San Pedro Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 1 July 2008)

©2008Health Physics Society