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Implementation of PAD delayed

 On 26th October 2007, the European Commission decided to delay the implementation of the Physical Agents (EMF) Directive for at least four years.

Following the campaign across Europe by scientists, clinicians, scientific bodies and research funders, the European Commission postponed the implementation of PAD, while scientific reviews were conducted. The decision was welcomed by those involved in the campaign, who had highlighted the poor scientific basis of the legislation and the disastrous consequences it would have had on clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the UK.

Dr Stephen Keevil, Consultant Physicist, Head of Magnetic Resonance Physics, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust: For several years now the MRI community has been highlighting the threat that the Physical Agents (EMF) Directive poses to clinical practice and research in our field. I am delighted that the European Commission has responded to the mounting scientific evidence by delaying transposition with a view to amending the Directive. I hope that this process of revision will result in legislation that protects workers from known hazards while avoiding unnecessary restrictions on the use and development of MRI.”

Andrew Jones, Consultant Clinical Scientist, British Institute of Radiology: The British Institute of Radiology (BIR) along with many other professional organisations has been very concerned about the severe negative impact the proposed EU Physical Agents Directive may have on both clinical Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging in health care and its restriction on research and development in the field of MR. This postponement will allow essential time for further research and data to be collected on the implications of the impact of the proposed Directive on MR imaging and hopefully therefore an opportunity to produce legislation to manage the safety of staff groups working within MR in a more rational manner. The BIR continues to keep abreast of developments and input to the discussions on future plans.”

Dr Mark Walport, Director, Wellcome Trust: "We are delighted that the European Commission has recognised our concerns about the prohibitive impact the Directive would have on cutting-edge MRI research, diagnosis and treatment. MRI provides crucial insights into human physiology, health and disease. However, we know from research led by the Wellcome Trust, more than half of MRI research depends on the researcher being able to stand close to the scanner to work with patients and equipment, and this work would have been prevented by the Directive."

Media coverage

Guardian Brussels lifts threat to MRI scanners

Financial Times Doctors hail EU's MRI scan move

BBC Planned scan-limit delay welcomed