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D. A Call for Low Dose Medical X-rays

Narrator: This is Science Today. A radiation expert is calling for the reduction of radiation doses in standard, medical x-rays. Dr. John Gofman of the University of California, Berkeley, recently released a study suggesting that the overuse of medical x-rays are responsible for a large proportion of cancer and heart disease deaths. One solution, he says, is to consistently lower dosage.

Gofman: The dose of medical x-rays for a given procedure - let's say a GI series - in one place gives you ten units of dose, in another place, it gives you one unit of dose. That's an outrage! There should never be a place giving you any more dose than the dose needed to give a good diagnosis.

Narrator: Gofman hopes public outcry will bring about the major changes made in mammography during the late Seventies. Doses were up to thirty times higher then - until there was mass criticism.

Gofman: That killed mammography temporarily, but the people interested in mammography went to work on it and today, the dose is down about twenty times on the average.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.