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New EU Rules On Exposure Of Workers To Electromagnetic Fields Agreed

The European Council and the European Parliament, with the help of the Commission, successfully concluded their negotiations on a new directive on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from electromagnetic fields.

On Wednesday, Member-States' Permanent Representatives endorsed the compromise reached, thus paving the way for the adoption of the draft directive at first reading, the European Council said in a pres release.

In order to enter into force, the text still needs to be formally approved by the Parliament, which is expected to vote in its plenary session in June. Also, the Council is due to take its decision shortly after the vote in Parliament, so that the adoption can be completed before the summer break.

The new directive is to replace a 2004 directive which has never entered into force because of problems with its implementation. The agreed text reviews exposure limitations on the basis of new scientific evidence and provides for derogations, in particular for medical applications using magnetic resonance imaging.

EU Member-States will have to enact the directive in their national law three years after the directive's entry into force. However, if Parliament approves the text by the end of June 2013, the deadline will be July 1, 2016.

Revision of the 2004 directive has proved necessary as the medical community claimed that work with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) would be hampered by the strict exposure limit values laid down in the text.

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