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Followup to the Report of the Interagency Task
Force on the Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation

The Report of the Interagency Task Force on the Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation points out that one of the most important opportunities for reducing exposure to radiation is in controlling unnecessary medical and dental exposures. Within the Federal government, I believe that this Department has a responsibility to take the lead in reducing such exposures.

I understand that we have already undertaken a number of activities to reduce unnecessary exposures. I am interested in what additional steps we can take in this area. Please provide me with a report, by November 1, which describes what we are doing or planning to do with respect to each of the recommendations made by the Inter agency Task Force on exposure reduction (attached).

I am particularly interested in knowing what activities are being undertaken by community health centers, Public Health Service hospitals and clinics, National Health Service Corps physicians and PSROS to reduce unnecessary exposures.

Par

Post Wan

'Patricia Roberts Harris

Attachment

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Throughout its report, the work Group suggested measures that could be taken to reduce radiation exposure. Some of these measures may be practical, while others may not. Consequently, the Group's first recommendation was that the feasibility and cost effectiveness of each proposal be evaluated and that the proposal be implemented if found appropriate.

One type of exposure which the work Group agreed should be targeted for early and concerted action was diagnostic exposure in the healing arts. The work Group recommended a broad program, most of which is already being implemented by FDA for the private sector and is required of federal agencies under Presidential directive. Some of the measures, to be undertaken in cooperation with professional groups, are:

developing, testing, disseminating and monitoring the use of criteria to govern referral of patients for procedures involving radiation exopsure.

exploring use of referral criteria by third
party carriers and Professional Standards
Review Organizations in utilization review
and reimbursement.

improving the education of those who order
procedures.

improving the availability, training, and credentialing of personnel who administer radiation-related procedures.

encouraging patients to help protect themselves
by recording the procedures they have had and
by obtaining copies of x-rays when they move
or change to a new physician or dentist.

developing federal minimum performance standards
for electronic equipment manufactured before
1974 and supporting state enforcement of these
standards.

supporting research into the use of radiation and into improvements in methods and equipment.

The Work Group also agreed that state radiation programs could effectively supplement federal activities, particularly in areas not covered by federal statute. The Group also proposed expansion of current environmental and human exposure monitoring, in cooperation with the States. Finally, the Group advocated review of existing exposure standards. As has been noted, review of the occupational standard is already underway and hearings are scheduled to be held this year.

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The National Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering

to serve government and other organizations

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