The National Radiological Protection Board has recently carried out a reappraisal of the annual genetically significant dose (GSD) to the population of Great Britain arising from the practice of diagnostic radiology. The current value of 120 muGy (12 mrad) is indistinguishable from the value determined 20 years ago despite a 48% increase in the number of X-ray examinations performed per head of the population. This is mostly due to a large decrease in the contribution from obstetric radiology and to a marked reduction in the gonadal doses delivered to children for nearly all types of examination. The GSD and the frequency of X-ray examinations in Great Britain would appear to be considerably lower than those found in other industrialized countries and seem unlikely to result in more than 100 cases of serious hereditary ill-health per year at genetic equilibrium. On the other hand, diagnostic radiology is responsible for 87% of the GSD from all man-made sources of population exposure in Great Britain and there is evidence from the data collected for this reappraisal that radiological protection measures could be improved so as to reduce significantly this large contribution without detriment to patient care.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Radiol

Publication Date





719 - 730


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Child, Female, Genitalia, Great Britain, Health Surveys, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Protective Devices, Radiation Dosage, Radiation Genetics, Radiation Protection, Radiography, State Medicine