A brief discussion on diagnostic radiation risks is given. First some fundamental facts on the concepts and units of radiation measurement are clarified. Medical diagnostic radiation doses are also compared to the radiation doses received annually by man from natural background radiation. The controversy concerning the '10-day rule' in X-raying women of child-bearing age is discussed; it would appear that the risk of malformation in an unborn child due to X-radiation is very much less than the natural level of risk of malformation. The differences in the radiographic techniques and thus the different X-ray doses needed to make adequate X-ray images of different parts of the body are considered. The radiation burden of nuclear medicine investigations compared to X-ray procedures is also discussed. Finally, the problems of using volunteers in radiation research are aired.