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Radiation Protection

Who regulates radiation used in medical procedures?

Depending on the type of radiation and how it is used in medical procedures, different state and federal agencies may play a role in regulation:

  • Individual states regulate the practice of medicine by licensing doctors, including radiologists. - Licensed doctors are permitted to use their experience and discretion in deciding the best procedure for patients, including imaging procedures that use radiation. In the case of radiologists, they may administer exams and determine the amount of radiation necessary to make an image that is useful in treatment decisions. Using only as much radiation dose as is required to achieve adequate image quality should be the goal.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates medical devices and ensures device safety in all medical settings. FDA also regulates radiation-emitting products and procedures. For more information, see Radiation-Emitting Products: Medical Imaging on
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information about medical procedures that use radiation. For more information, see Radiation in Medicine – Medical Imaging Procedures on
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulates the manufacture and use of radioactive materials in nuclear medicine, radiation therapy and research. For more information, see Nuclear Medicine: What it is – and Isn’t.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not directly regulate radiation in medical imaging. However, it does develop and issue general radiation guidance that other federal agencies reference when developing rules and regulations to protect public health. For more information, see Federal Guidance Report No. 14: Radiation Protection Guidance for Diagnostic and Interventional X-Ray Procedures.

Return to Frequent Questions about Radiation Protection.