The European Society of Radiology said new scientific evidence showed the limits set in the EU Physical Agents Directive were impractical, since they would be routinely exceeded by workers close to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners.
"The values described in the directive would be exceeded in every use of MRI," Gabriel Krestin, professor and chairman of the Department of Radiology at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, said in a statement.
"We would have to use other forms of scanning, such as x-rays, which are known to be harmful. Research would also be severely curtailed, since it is often conducted with much stronger magnetic fields than those used in clinical practice."
The EU directive, setting limits on exposure to electromagnetic fields, is due to come into effect in April next year. The European Society of Radiology argues an exception should be made for MRI scanners, which are used to provide internal images of the body.
The new EU limits are intended primarily to protect workers in the electricity and mobile-phone industries but MRI has also become ensnared in the regulation.
Studies commissioned by the U.K. Health and Safety Executive found that anyone standing within about one meter of an MRI scanner while it is acquiring images would exceed the exposure limits set out in the EU directive.
Leading manufacturers of scanners include General Electric Co., Siemens AG, and Philips Electronics NV.
Last Updated: 2007-06-11 9:30:38 -0400 (Reuters Health)
European radiology mobilizes to stave off MRI safety rules, March 9, 2007
Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.