Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen, a German physicist of the late 1800s, along with discovering X-rays, was the first to notice that lead could be used as a shield against them. It took several years, however, for people to realize that a shield was necessary. Shortly after the discovery of X-rays in 1895, doctors began using them for the purpose of medical imaging without any form of protection. Within a year, reports started emerging of injuries potentially caused by X-rays, including eye and skin damage. Research into the harmful effects of radiation continued for many years, and lead was an early-recognized means of protection. However, it was not until the 1920s that the dangers of radiation were fully understood and standards of exposure and protection methods were fully developed.
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