Hot Topic at BioEM2013: Occupational EMF Directive

Authored by: Meike Mevissen, and Carmela Marino

Published on: Apr 10, 2013

The Technical Program Committee decided that the Hot Topic at BioEM2013 will be on the Occupational EMF Directive. This new Directive, which will require the assessment of exposure to EMF in the workplace in all EU member states, is expected to be voted on in the European parliament in the week of our meeting, and it is as hot as possible for a BioEM meeting held in Europe. The Directive is binding throughout the European Union, and is the first international regulation on occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields, but will also affect anyone working in Europe for a company based elsewhere or any company selling equipment for professional use that emits electromagnetic fields.

The Directive is controversial because at the moment it is not clear that many industries can meet its requirements, and there is concern that if enforced, activities such as auto manufacturing may be impossible. Earlier concerns about the impact of the Directive on medical procedures and military activities have been addressed by allowing derogations.

The format for the Hot Topic session will be two speakers talking for 15 minutes each and then an interchange between them, based on a number questions prepared in advance. After the discussion, the debate will be open to the audience for the rest of the session.

One speaker is an advocate of the Directive and argues that it is essential for worker protection. The other foresees some major practical and scientific problems.