|Text on Button||I'VE HAD A CHEST X-RAY HAVE YOU?|
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THE WHITEHEAD & HOAG CO.
In the late 1940s to 1950s, concentrated efforts were made in the U.S. to wipe out tuberculosis. Curbside radiology vans sponsored by tuberculosis associations serviced communities in performing x-ray exams. A national screening program emerged in 1950 from the Public Health Service’s Division of Tuberculosis. The efforts of the program resulted in 60 mobile units, each equipped with photofluorographic X-ray equipment that traveled across the country and performed free X-rays. X-rays were, at the time, seen and advertised as the most effective weapons against tuberculosis and the general public was encouraged to get yearly screening. Over 2 million chest X-ray examinations were performed throughout the country. Many states and counties ran their own programs to perform free x-rays in order to increase efforts against the rise of tuberculosis giving out buttons or lapel cards that read, “I’ve Had a Chest X-Ray. Have you?” The work resulted in a discovery of large number of cases that were now treatable at home with the availability of isoniazid. Concerns over the use of x-rays emerged from findings that even small doses of radiation exposure would prove harmful, which reduced use of x-rays for a time. States went on to ban the use of x-rays on humans by anyone other than medical or dental personnel. By 1970, tuberculosis had declined to an extent that the disease was rarely discovered through x-rays and the tuberculin skin test became preferred and less expensive way of screening.
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