European Commission delays MRI usage directive

The European Commission has postponed for at least five years the implementation of the EU Physical Agents Directive, which was designed to protect workers from the potentially harmful effects of electromagnetic fields, including those produced by MRI systems.

The original proposal had drawn the ire of scientists and radiologists, who deemed the directive as a serious threat to research and healthcare in general. Opponents of the directive asserted that the electromagnetic exposure limits for users would have made it virtually impossible to operate an MRI machine and provide adequate care for patients.

The directive, which was adopted in 2004, is not dead yet. The EU will consider amendments while the delay remains in effect until 2012.

It is likely the proposal, if it proceeds, will be changed, prompted primarily by recent advances in research and technology. The U.K.'s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee asserted that the directive was based on 10-year-old electromagnetic exposure risk assessments.

By staff writers
October 29, 2007

Related Reading

Alliance for MRI gains delay, but new European rules still loom, July 26, 2007

Scientists warn new E.U. rules threaten MRI scans, June 11, 2007

European radiology mobilizes to stave off MRI safety rules, March 9, 2007

New E.U. rules threaten MRI research, use - experts, September 21, 2005

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