European EMF Directive Vision

Authored by: Phil Chadwick

Published on: Jun 02, 2012

The original version of the European EMF Directive (Directive 2004/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) (18th individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC)) was published in 2004, with an implementation date of 2008. It was based closely on the 1998 ICNIRP guidelines for occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields. It was delayed for four years in 2008 to allow details of its implementation to be resolved.  In April 2012, it was delayed for an additional 18 months, but with a requirement for immediate implementation in October 2013.

Meanwhile, negotiations on a completely revised version of the Directive continue.  A version with exposure limits that reflect more recent advice from ICNIRP as well as other scientific inputs is expected to replace 2004/40/EC before October 2013, with an implementation date a couple of years beyond that. If it doesn't, then 2004/40/EC will come into force – but no one really expects that to happen.

Ultimately, a final European Commission proposal for a revised EMF Directive is likely some time in 2013, with a probable implementation date of 2015 or later. If voted through the European Council & Parliament, it will be incorporated into national law in each of the 27 countries (total population nearly 500 million) of the European Union.