Radiation Control History

shoe-fitting fluoroscope

This deactivated shoe-fitting fluoroscope is on display at the Radiation Control office in Austin, Texas.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) was initially involved in radiological health activities as early as 1947. About this time, DSHS conducted one of the nation's first extensive surveys to demonstrate the radiation hazards of shoe-fitting fluoroscopes. Shoe-fitting fluoroscopes emitted an extremely high dose of radiation that could result in genetic damage and burns to the feet. Also, the sales people were getting exposed to occupational doses that were sometimes as much as five times higher than what a radiation worker would be allowed today.

In the early 1950's, a series of short courses on radiological hazards was conducted throughout Texas. The Texas Board of Health adopted Regulations on Radiation Exposure in 1956, and an amendment was added in 1957 that prohibited the use of shoe-fitting fluoroscopes.

The 1959 legislature created a Radiation Study Committee to review all aspects of Texas' role in nuclear energy. This led to the drafting of the Texas Radiation Control Act, adopted in 1961. The act established the Texas Radiation Advisory Board and designated the Texas Department of Health (now the Texas Department of State Health Services) as the radiation control agency.

A contractual agreement was made in 1963 between the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the State of Texas. The agreement was made in accordance with the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended in 1959. The Texas Department of Health then assumed all licensing and regulatory authority except for nuclear reactors, quantities of special nuclear materials sufficient to form a critical mass, and those materials used by federal organizations. The radiation control functions were assigned to the Radiation Control Program in the Division of Occupational Health and Radiation Control. Follow the link to the Agreement Information.

Effective April 1981, the organizational structure of Radiation Control, as established within the Division of Occupational Health and Radiation Control, was changed through legislative action to the Bureau of Radiation Control.

Effective September 1, 2004, the Texas Department of Health changed its name to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Under a reorganization, there is no longer a Bureau of Radiation Control. The staff continues to serve the public under the Division for Regulatory Services, Radiation Control Program.

The Texas program has led the nation in radiation control accomplishments. Please see the Chronological History of highlights that establish the Texas Department of State Health Services, Radiation Control Program, as a leader for other radiation control programs.

Also see the Texas Radiation Control Program, Comparative History 1990-2004 (PDF, 121KB). This report contains an Executive Summary and Comparative History of the TDH Bureau of Radiation Control from 1990 - 2004.

Last updated March 5, 2021