Cell Phone Exposure in Womb May Lead to Behavioral Problems in Children

A new <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/product_liability">cell phone study, based on a prior study, suggests that children exposed to cell phones—in utero and after birth—experienced an increased risk of behavioral problems by the time they turned seven, said Newsday. Experts believe the risk is connected to electromagnetic fields sent out by cell phones.

This study looked at about 29,000 children. The prior study, on which this study was based, took place in 2008 and looked at 13,000 children; the same U.S. team conducted both studies, wrote Newsday. The current study, noted Newsday, considered some significant variables, said lead author Leeka Kheifets, an epidemiologist at the School of Public Health at the University of California at Los Angeles, noted Newsday. “These new results back the previous research and reduce the likelihood that this could be a chance finding,” said Kheifets, quoted Newsday.

Kheifets pointed out that the results do not prove but, rather, suggest, a link between device exposure and behavioral problems later in children’s lives, explained Newsday, and that additional studies are strongly suggested to “replicate or refute” the findings. The study appears online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“Although it is premature to interpret these results as causal,” the team concluded, “we are concerned that early exposure to cell phones could carry a risk, which, if real, would be of public health concern given the widespread use of the technology,” quoted Newsday.

The study looked at 28,745 children enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC), which follows the health of 100,000 Danish children born between 1996 and 2002, and their mothers’ health, said Newsday. About half had no cell phone exposure, making them ideal for comparison purposes, noted Newsday. Mothers completed a questionnaire when children turned seven, which discussed “family lifestyle, childhood diseases, and cell phone use,” as well as other “health-related questions,” and contained “a standardized test designed to identify emotional or behavior problems, inattention or hyperactivity, or problems with other children,” said Newsday. Children’s behavior was then classified as “normal,” “borderline,” or “abnormal.”

It seems that 18 percent of the children were exposed to cell phones prior to and following birth, up 10 percent from 2008; 35 percent of the seven-year-olds used cell phones, up 30.5 percent, said Newsday. For the most part, no children from both studies, used a device for more than one hour weekly, added Newsday. The study looked at device exposure in utero, after birth, and adjusting for emotional, attention, and learning histories; maternal use of tobacco, alcohol, or drugs during pregnancy or breastfeeding; and mothers’ time with their children, said Newsday.

The research found that children exposed prior to and after birth experienced a 50-percent increased risk for behavior problems; children exposed only in the womb, had a 40-percent increased risk for borderline behavior problems; those not exposed to cell phones before birth, but who were using them by age seven, were 20 percent likelier to present with behavioral problems, reported Newsday.

Countless studies have been conducted on the links between cell phone use and cancer, with seemingly conflicting results. Recently, author Devra Davis, a U.S. public health advocate and epidemiologist, wrote about the science surrounding cell phones in her new book, Disconnect. The book reveals that, although the published science is conflicted, there is information pointing to the dangers of cell phones.

A variety of studies, wrote the Globe and Mail previously, specifically citing a large review released this year by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer-research agency, revealed that people using cell phones for just a half-hour daily for 10 years experience a two-fold risk for glioma, a rare and generally fatal type of brain tumor. Gliomas were found on the same side of the brain as where the cell phones were held.

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