After the accident to No. 1 pile at Windscale on October 10, 1957 (Atomic Energy Office, 1957), the Atomic Energy Authority asked the Medical Research Council for advice on the maximum intake of certain radioactive isotopes that should be regarded as permissible, under emergency conditions, for members of the general population living in, or deriving food from, an area contaminated owing to an accident to a reactor. The Council's Committee on Protection against Ionizing Radiations, together with its Subcommittees on Internal and External Radiations, has considered this problem, and concludes that the intake of radioactive materials by ingestion of contaminated food would generally be the limiting source of hazard after any such accident. Intake by inhalation, or radiation from the exterior, would become of importance only in rather special circumstances. In the following report, therefore, the Committee proposes maximum permissible levels of dietary contamination for the relevant isotopes in the emergency conditions envisaged. In proposing these levels, the Protection Committee has used the fullest information available on the radiation doses that would be delivered to different body tissues and at different ages by the isotopes concerned, and on the ways in which these materials would enter the body.