The Challenge

It became apparent that EU health and safety legislation would severely impede the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners due to fears about electronic magnetic fields.

The magnetic field in an MRI scanner produces a detailed ‘3D’ image of the body which can help diagnose serious illnesses such as cancer and also help surgeons with ‘live’ images during operations.

The Directive was designed to protect people from exposure to high levels of electromagnetic fields while at work.

The FIPRA Approach

As a solution, FIPRA built a coalition ‘The Alliance for MRI’ comprising European parliamentarians, patient groups, leading European scientists, the medical community and manufacturers.

A strategy was devised to obtain a derogation for MRI from the legislation. The coalition engaged with governments and parliamentarians at the national and European level, as well as with different Directorates General of the European Commission.

The Outcome

The European Commission repealed the Directive and introduced a revised proposal with a derogation, recognising that MRI had been used for over 25 years, imaging up to 500 million patients without any evidence of harm to workers due to EMF exposure. This was adopted by Council and Parliament.

It is only the second time that an EU Directive has been repealed and revised.