Guidelines for radiation protection are based upon an underlying philosophy in which two factors are of prime importance.
First is the assumption that there is no radiation dose so small that it does not involve some degree of risk.
The second major factor to consider is that radiation, like many other developments of modern life, confers great benefit upon both the individual and the society in spite of its small risk to health. Consideration of the extent of these benefits makes a certain degree of risk acceptable.
Thus, a balance must be struck in each contemplated radiation usage, in which the benefit to be gained is weighed against the anticipated risk. If the benefit outweighs the risk, the radiation is utilized so that its maximum benefit will be realized while individual exposure will be reduced to the minimum consistent with deriving these benefits. The overall protection philosophy, then, is to maximize the advantages from the use of radiation while minimizing exposure by eliminating whenever possible all unnecessary exposure to radiation.