Physical Agents (Electromagnetic Fields)
The European Commission has, as of 26/10/07 decided, to postpone for four years – until 30 April 2012 – the deadline for introducing legislation on workers' exposure to electromagnetic fields, which could have affected the use of technologies such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). This will allow enough time to prepare a substantive amendment to the Directive in order to take account of recent research findings on the possible impact of the exposure limits on MRI.
The Commission indicates in its proposal that this postponement is being carried out in order to prepare a substantive amendment to the Directive. The future amendment will aim to ensure that limits will not have an adverse effect on the practice of MRI, whilst ensuring appropriate protection of personnel. Moreover, it is intended to review the situation for all sectors where personnel are exposed to electromagnetic fields while carrying out their work.
The postponement will also allow sufficient time to take into account new recommendations from relevant international bodies. The International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is currently revising its recommendations for occupational limit values for static and low frequency electromagnetic fields (such as MRI), while the World Health Organisation is also revising its Environmental Health Criteria for electromagnetic fields. Those revisions are expected to yield results in the form of new, less stringent, recommended limit values for occupational exposure at the end of 2008.
As a result of the above Ireland will put the transposition of the current Directive on hold.