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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Public Health Service National Institutes of Health

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U S. Government Printing Onico, Washington, D.C. 20102

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SUBJECT: Research on Health Effects of Radiation--Volume 1: Selected Documents

Relating to the Activities of Federal Agencies Concerning Research on
Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation, May 1978-May 1980

1980, the President directed you to establish an Interagency Radiation Research Committee (IRRC). This Committee superseded the HEWmandated Committee on Federal Research Into the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation.

The enclosed volume documents all relevant Legislative and Executive
Branch actions that led to the creation of the HEW-mandated committee and
thoroughly records that committee's work. It covers the period May 1978
to May 1980. The volume provides a public record of unprecedented Federal
agency and Congressional action regarding research on health effects of
radiation. Virtually all of the key Executive and Legislative Branch
issues relating to radiation research are included in the chronological
list of documents (Part A) and the relevant Congressional actions (Part B).

In view of the extraordinary public, scientific, and governmental interest
in the subject, we believe it appropriate to create this volume as a
public record on which future Federal research activities will be based.
The model has been that used by the National Institutes of Health in the
five volumes of documents relating to the NIH Guidelines for Research
Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules, covering the period from February
1975 through 1980. Those volumes have been an invaluable record for the
Federal Government, the courts, the Congress, and scientific and public

The present document provides a basis for judging Executive and Congressional
policies on efforts to develop a strategy for Federal research on health
effects of radiation. It reviews the painstaking inquiry by the HHS Panel
of Experts into the effects of nuclear weapons testing on health, which
provided a public scrutiny of relevant Public Health Service archives.
It describes the extensive investigative effort of the Government following
the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident. And it documents
the various proposals and actions concerning the conduct of research on
health effects of nuclear weapons testing in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada.
Many task force reports, Congressional bills and hearings, and other
relevant documents are excerpted to provide a unique reference on policy
questions about research into the health effects of ionizing radiation
as they were dealt with by the Interagency Radiation Research Committee.

This document (like the recombinant DNA volumes) was prepared under the able direction of Dr. Joseph G. Perpich, Associate Director for Program Planning and Evaluation, NIH, who serves as Executive Secretary of the Interagency Committee. Carole Cone compiled the material under the editorial direction of W. T. Carrigan and the legislative assistance of Douglas Hussey. General advice and assistance was given by Dr. Charles Lowe, Special Assistant to the Director, NIH, who is responsible for coordinating radiation activities for NIH and the Interagency Committee.

This publication should serve as a valuable reference for Congressional Committees and Federal agencies and concerned scientific and public interest groups. We commend the document to your attention and stand ready to transmit it as suggested above and as you may further indicate.

s tredukson Donald S. Fredrickson, M.D. Director


On February 21, 1980, President Carter signed an executive order creating a Radiation Policy Council and directed the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare to establish an Interagency Radiation Research Committee. * These actions implement decisions announced by the President on October 23, 1979, designed to improve the policies and programs of the Federal Government relating to radiation protection and research.

The Radiation Policy Council will coordinate the Federal programs to reduce exposure to radiation from all sources, including medical and dental exposure; will be responsible for resolving conflicts and jurisdiction among Federal agencies; and will recommend corrective legislation.

The Interagency Radiation Research Committee supersedes an active Congressionally mandated committee, which has already reviewed various federally supported studies. The Radiation Research Committee will prepare an annual report on Federal research activities for use in the President's budget request.

The present volume is intended to be the first in a series that will provide the documentary basis of evolving Federal policies for radiation research. It constitutes a record for the public of Federal activities concerning research on health effects of ionizing radiation from May 1978 to May 1980. A limited number of items overriding this time frame are included for the sake of clarity. The document is by no means exhaustive, but it does provide a framework of major Federal activities and their interrelatedness, ranging from the Three Mile Island accident to the health effects of nuclear weapons testing.

The volume opens with the Presidential directive of February 21, 1980, establishing the Radiation Policy Council and the Interagency Radiation Research Committee. Included is the memorandum from the President to relevant Cabinet members instructing the Secretary of HEW to establish an Interagency Radiation Research Committee, with membership drawn from the agencies and departments addressed. In response, a memorandum creating an Interagency Radiation Research Committee went from the Secretary of HEW to the President, to the Directors of the Office of Management and Budget, to the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and to Cabinet members and agency heads.

Next are included the Presidential executive order creating the Radiation Policy Council, a news release by the Council Chairman, Douglas M. Costle, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, and a representative letter of invitation from Mr. Costle to Patricia Roberts Harris, Secretary of Health and Human Services, requesting HHS representation on the Council.

Finally, a charter for the Interagency Radiation Research Committee is included. A roster of the members appears on page ii.

*The Department of HEW became the Department of Health and Human Services on May 7, 1980.

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