The European Parliament has postponed for four years the implementation of the EU Directive on electromagnetic fields (EMF) that would have had the unintended effect of halting the use of MRI.
The EU Physical Agents Directive 2004/40/EC, which was written to protect workers from the potentially harmful effects of electromagnetic fields, including those produced by MRI systems, was due to be implemented in all member states by April 2008.
On Feb. 19, Parliament voted to postpone the directive until 2012 to allow time for extensive consultation and amendment to take place.
"The Directive would have posed particular problems to those healthcare staff that care for patients such as children, the elderly, or those who have been anaesthetised, and who need help and comfort during scans,” said Alexander Eggermont, MD, PhD, president of the European CanCer Organization. “It would also have stopped the use of MRI for interventional and surgical procedures.”