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Controversial physical agents directive postponed
Date:10/29/2007

Brussels, 29 October 2007 - The implementation of the Physical Agents Directive 2004/40/EC would suppose irreversible and drastic repercussions for cancer diagnosis and treatment Europe wide. Last Fridays publicly announced postponement represents a thankful turnaround, putting the brakes on a feared future for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in cancer.

Two-way dialogue prior to policy is paramount

The Physical Agents Directive was originally devised to limit occupational radiation exposure. What the Directive however failed to consider in its parameters were the different boundaries relating to such exposure. This oversight has greatly concerned professionals involved in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The Directive would consequently breach even those operating within 1 metre of MRI scanners as shown by a study published by the Health and Safety Executive in June 2007 on operator exposure to electromagnetic fields from MRI (Stuart Crozier, Brisbane University, Australia). These findings have thankfully and subsequently been considered by the European Commission.

At the recent ECCO 14 meeting, the dangers behind implementing the Directive were tackled head on by Dag Rue Olsen (Norwegian Radiation Hospital, Norway), Chairman, Physics Committee, the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO) during a specially organised news briefing.

Accentuating the problems with the Directive, Olsen emphasised that MRI is an essential tool in medical diagnostics and argued that there is no scientific evidence of long-term adverse health effects of exposure to static fluctuating magnetic fields that are commonly found during MR scanning. Concerning the recent announcement, he commented,

It is important to welcome this development as a first step in avoiding severe consequences for cancer patients. Importantly, there is a lesson to be learned from this particular turn of events. The Commi
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Contact: Amanda Wren
amanda.wren@ecco-org.eu
32-473-938-672
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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