Cell Phone Use in Pregnancy: Risks for Child?

Possible Link Between Prenatal Cell Phone Exposure and Childhood Behavior Problems

Exposure to cell phones before birth and afterward may increase a child's risk for developing certain behavioral problems, including hyperactivity, inattention, and problems getting along with peers.


The new research does have limitations; the study researchers point out that there aren't enough data to say how, or even if, cell phone exposure may cause any behavioral problems in children.

"There are theories, but I do not know."

"Exposure to the fetus is likely to be very low, so it's unclear how it can influence fetal development."
But taking some simple precautions to reduce exposure during pregnancy and among children seems prudent. "Be aware of your exposure and while the science develops, use precaution."  "It is very easy to reduce exposure by keeping your phone away from body and using a hands-free device, so why not do it?"

Cell Phone Exposure and Behavior

Data on cell phone use from 28,745  7-year-olds and their moms who were part of the Danish National Birth Cohort study. The mothers provided information on their lifestyle including cell phone use during and after pregnancy. They were interviewed again about their kids' cell phone habits and behavioral issues when their children turned 7.
They found that 35.2% of 7-year olds used a cell phone. Less than 1% of children used their cell phone for longer than one hour a week. Based on the reports by their mothers, the majority of children (93%) had no behavioral issues, 3.3% had borderline behavioral problems, and 3.1% showed signs of behavioral problems including emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, and relationship problems.
Close to 18% of children were exposed to cell phones during pregnancy and after birth, and this was the group with greatest risk for behavioral problems.
The new findings mirror those of an earlier, smaller study of about 13,000 children from the same Danish birth cohort.
Going forward, Kheifets plans to look at the children when they turn 11 and see if the findings still hold. Children will be able to answer questions regarding their cell phone use for themselves by the time they are 11.

Reducing Cell Phone Exposure

The time to act is now. "Pregnant women should be careful about exposure for lots of reasons.. Warnings actually appear on phones that say pregnant woman should avoid exposure to their abdomen."
"Do not keep it on your abdomen, use it with a headset or speaker phone."                                  "It is better be safe than sorry."  "I do not have a lot of data, and if we are smart we would not insist on waiting to get lots of data before taking these simple precautions."
It's not just pregnant women who need to heed this advice. Several studies have shown that men who keep their cell phones in their pocket may risk damaging their sperm.
John Walls, vice president of public affairs at CTIA-The Wireless Association, a trade group representing the wireless industry, tells that his group "stands behind the research review by independent and renowned public health agencies around the world which states that there are no known adverse health effects associated with using wireless devices."
Jeff Stier, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research Says

"Different phones give off different exposures, and even those who were reported to be not exposed, probably had significant environmental exposure,

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