In a spectacular example of large government bureaucracy decision making, an edict called “Physical Agents Directive” issued by the EU, may very well make MRI testing impossible across all of Europe. With a title marketed towards the Star Trek crowd, the edict limits the amount of electromagnetic field exposure the operators of MRI machines receive.
The directive is set to be implemented across Europe by April next year and was drawn up to limit medical workers’ exposure to electromagnetic fields.
But Professor Dag Rune Olsen, a specialist in experimental radiation therapy at the Norwegian Radiation Hospital in Oslo, told the European Cancer Conference in Barcelona that the directive could put at risk some eight million annual MRI scans, hampering patient treatment.
“These are likely to have to stop, since the directive sets limits to occupational radiation exposure which will mean that anyone working or moving near MRI equipment will breach them, thus making it possible for them to sue their employers,” he said.
“Even those maintaining or servicing the equipment may be affected,” said Olsen, who is also chairman of the physics committee of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO).
Britain’s Health and Safety Executive published a study in June, undertaken by Professor Stuart Crozier of Brisbane University [sic – AFP error. It is actually University of Queensland. -ed], Australia, which found that anyone standing within about one metre (yard) of an MRI scanner in use would breach the exposure limits laid down in the EU directive.
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