European Parliament approves changes to European health and safety legislation for MRI

(from left to right) Gabriel P Krestin, Peter Liese, Mary Baker
(from left to right) Gabriel P Krestin, Peter Liese, Mary Baker

The Alliance for MRI announced on 11 June that the European Parliament has approved derogation for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in its draft report on the revised directive on protecting workers from exposure to electromagnetic fields. 

According to the Alliance for MRI, the approval of the derogation is in line with the first reading political agreement reached by council and Parliament in April 2013, following in-depth informal discussions after the committee vote in December 2012.

“Approval by the plenary marks a milestone towards revising an erroneous European directive before it enters into force. In its old form, the directive would have prevented patients from benefiting from MRI used in the diagnosis and treatment of their life-threatening diseases” said Gabriel P Krestin, former president of the European Society of Radiology.

According to a press release, the derogation for MRI is vital, as the revised exposure limits for workers in the proposed directive could have prohibited the use of MRI in areas such as MRI-guided surgery (for example brain surgery) and in imaging-vulnerable patients and children, where closer patient contact may be required. New research and developments in MRI could have also been restricted, as could routine cleaning and maintenance of MRI equipment.

Mary Baker, president of the European Brain Council said: “The derogation for MRI that was endorsed by the Parliament today will ensure that serious brain conditions such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s will be diagnosed and treated to the benefit of patients in Europe. I am grateful that members of the European Parliament have followed our arguments, enabling patient access to MRI whilst fully respecting the safety needs of health professionals working with the equipment. I now hope for a speedy adoption of the revised directive by member states.”

Following the plenary vote, the Council is expected to adopt its official position, in line with the First Reading Agreement from April, as soon as possible.