Exposure of Workers to Electromagnetic Fields and Waves (Extract from Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council - Provisional Version)

October 10, 2002

Brussels, 09 Oct 2002

The Council took note of the information given by the Presidency on the outcome of a technical seminar that it organised in Luxembourg on 20 September. The aim of this seminar was to establish whether there is enough scientific evidence of potential risks to the health and safety of workers when exposed to electromagnetic fields and waves to justify legislative measures.

The seminar showed that there was agreement on a number of potentially acute health effects resulting from exposure to powerful, low-frequency electromagnetic fields and waves, as well as to sources of radio and microwave frequencies.

The Presidency intends to continue work, in close co-operation with the forthcoming Greek Presidency and the Commission, on the preparation of a new text for a Directive on minimum requirements for safety and health regarding workers' exposure to electromagnetic fields and waves. This will follow the model of the two previous texts on vibration and noise (the former already adopted in June 2002, the latter currently in conciliation with the European maoliamEntF.

[From the Danish Employment Minister's statement as Council President:]

The work on protecting employees against electromagnetic waves and fields has led to a landmark gain, which may establish a precedent for the way in which we structure the future political process. The principle is that all relevant facts must be made explicit before the political process is imitated

Previously, the political processes have often been interrupted and have dragged out because it became necessary to obtain further technical information and data, and carry out new scientific analyses.

Therefore, the Danish EU Presidency has endeavoured to clarify whether at the present time there is sufficient scientific basis for proposing an amendment to the regulation of electromagnetic waves and fields.

Together with the EU Commission, we have held a technical seminar, in which experts from all over Europe and representatives of the European Parliament and the social partners participated. We now have a basis so that, in close co-operation with the coming Greek EU Presidency and with assistance from the EU Commission, we may begin drafting a new directive text.

I hope and trust that a first draft may be ready for presentation in the Council working group on social issues at the end of the Danish EU Presidency.

http://ue.eu.int/pressData/en/lsa/72609. pdf

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