The European Council of Employment and Social Policy Ministers has approved an exception for MRI to the directive Protecting Workers from Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields. The original draft version would have prevented MRI from being used in certain diagnoses and treatments, such as MRI-guided surgery, and also would have severely restricted new research and development, according to the Alliance for MRI, which issued a statement welcoming the approval. The safety of MRI already is ensured through the safety standard IEC/EN 60601-2-33, the alliance pointed out.
The final draft of the directive will be sent to the European Parliament for approval, and is expected to pass since it’s the result of an agreement between the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and the European Commission. If passed, it will transpose into national law by July 2016. The directive concerns minimum health and safety requirements for workers exposed to electromagnetic fields.
COCIR, the European trade association covering medical diagnostics, also issued a statement supporting the approval. The organisation has been fighting the original directive 2004/40/EC since it was first approved. It was scheduled to take effect in 2008, but the European Commission extended the deadline to gather more data on how electromagnetic fields impact the human body. A new proposal was published in June 2011.