MRI-related magnetic field exposures and risk of commuting accidents - A cross-sectional survey among Dutch imaging technicians

Environ Res. 2017 Jul;156:613-618. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2017.04.022. Epub 2017 Apr 26.


Background: Imaging technicians working with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may experience acute effects such as vertigo or dizziness when being exposed. A previous study also reported an increased risk of accidents in MRI exposed staff.

Objectives: We aimed at evaluating commuting accident risk in Dutch imaging technicians.

Methods: Of invited imaging technicians, 490 (29%) filled in a questionnaire pertaining to (near) accidents when driving or riding a bike, health, lifestyle and work practices. We used logistic regression to evaluate the association between exposure to MRI-related electromagnetic fields and risk of commuting (near) accidents in the year prior to the survey, adjusted for a range of potential confounders.

Results: Our cross-sectional study indicated an increased risk of (near) accidents if imaging technicians had worked with MRI in the year prior to the survey (odds ratio OR 2.13, 95%CI 1.23-3.69). Risks were higher in persons who worked with MRI more often (OR 2.32, 95%CI 1.25-4.31) compared to persons who worked sometimes with MRI (OR 1.91, 95%CI 0.98-3.72), and higher in those who had likely experienced higher peak exposures to static and time-varying magnetic fields (OR 2.18, 95%CI 1.06-4.48). The effect was seen on commuting accidents that had occurred on the commute from home to work as well as accidents from work to home or elsewhere.

Conclusion: Imaging technicians working with MRI scanners may be at an increased risk of commuting (near) accidents. This result needs confirmation and potential risks for other groups (volunteers, patients) should be investigated.

Keywords: Accidents; Long-term effects; MRI stray fields; Occupational exposure; Radiographer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Fields*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Assessment
  • Transportation / statistics & numerical data*