The fact that dose limits are not applicable for patients has sometimes led to the mistaken belief that there are no requirements for patient protection. The International Basic Safety Standards (BSS) have requirements for protection in medical exposure and an Appendix provides the full details.
While dealing with issues pertaining to radiation protection, the following situations could occur:
Such situations emphasize the need for credible international standards that are based on worldwide consensus.
International Standards are a set of mandatory requirements agreed on by worldwide consensus, based on the knowledge of biological effects of radiation and on principles for protection from undesirable effects , i.e.:
The Standards place requirements on those authorized to conduct a practice using radiation, and are based on the presumption that there is a national infrastructure enabling Governments to discharge their responsibilities for protection and safety. It is this aspect that implicitly makes it necessary for international requirements to be established only by organizations with official status to establish these requirements. Which organizations fit into this slot? The official status accrues to international organization under the United Nation family. The IAEA is specifically authorized by its Member States, under the terms of its Statute to establish standards of safety for the protection of health and minimization of danger to life, in collaboration with the competent organs of the United Nations and the specialized agencies concerned and to provide for the application of these standards. Professional organizations can, however, collaborate and provide advice during the process of establishing and applying Standards.
The Standards have been developed with specific objectives to establish requirements for protection against the risks associated with exposure to ionizing radiation. The requirements have the force that is derived from the statutory provisions of the sponsoring organizations and further scope as contained therein.
The current International Basic Safety Standards for Protection Against Ionising Radiation and for the Safety of Radiation Sources (BSS) was issued in 1996. It is jointly sponsored by FAO, ILO, OECD/NEA, PAHO, WHO in addition to the IAEA.
 In therapeutic medical application of radiation, some effects are desired, such as those in the target volume, which are the objective of radiotherapy.