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14. European Union Physical Agents Directive (EMF) EUPAD

14.1  Background

The Electro- Magnetic Fields (EMF) Directive1 was first adopted in 2004 with an original implementation date of April 2008.  The Directive required that worker exposures to EMFs were kept to below agreed limits; these limits were set from recommendations published by the ICNIRP.

The Directive had a significant impact on MRI whereby certain types of scanning would have resulted in worker exposures above the ICNIRP limits; this would be prohibited under the Directive.  Following widespread concerns raised by the medical imaging and MR research communities, an amended Directive was adopted in 2008 that delayed implementation of the original directive until 2012.20  This delay was to allow the European commission to consult stakeholders from across Europe on the future of the directive and allow time for scientific studies to analyse the impact of the directive on the use of MRI.

The study ordered by the commission demonstrated that compulsory compliance with the exposure limit values of the directive would indeed hamper the further use of MRI.  A new draft directive which included updated ICNIRP values was then proposed.  This draft allowed for a conditional derogation for MRI from the numerical exposure value limits although not from the directive as a whole.

14.2  Current Status

The European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) has approved a draft directive which will form the basis of negotiations with the European Council and will potentially be voted on by the European Parliament in 2013.

For further information and forthcoming updates please see SoR webpage:

https://www.sor.org/practice/cross-sectional-imaging/european-union-physical-agents-directive-eu-pad   (accessed February 28th 2013)

NB.  Once the directive has been adopted full, details of the directive and its implications for the MR community will be published as an addendum to this document.

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