Pregnant? Put Your Cell Phone Use On Hold | Seventh Generation
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Pregnant? Put Your Cell Phone Use On Hold

7 comments
Author: the Inkslinger

Pregnant Cell Phone UseThough the conclusion is not without controversy, we’ve been opining for some time that a healthy dose of precaution is likely warranted where cell phone use is concerned. There are a few too many studies out there suggesting that exposure to the radiation cell phones emit might be hazardous to the human brain. Now comes a new study showing that they’re not safe for developing fetuses either.

The study, conducted at UCLA and Denmark’s University of Aarhus, and scheduled to be published in the July issue of the medical journal Epidemiology, found that pregnant women who used cell phones just two or three times a day were 54% more likely to give to give birth to children who would experience behavioral problems (emotional issues, hyperactivity, difficulties relating to peers, etc.) than women who didn’t use a cell phone during their pregnancy. Kids who also used cell phones themselves before age seven fared even worse and had an 80% greater chance of developing some kind of behavioral trouble.

A couple of points need to be made in order to understand just how important this study is: first, this was not some little project that looked at a handful of families in a single region. Over 13,000 children throughout Denmark participated, enough to overcome factors that might skew the results like socio-economic or local environmental conditions.

Second, one of the authors of the study, Leeka Kheifets of UCLA, has previously gone on record to say that there is no solid body of evidence linking cell phone usage to adverse human health effects. This is a study undertaken by a serious skeptic, who was surprised by the results.

We’ve been getting more than a few warning shots about cell phones, and this is the latest but also one of the largest. Of course, not everyone agrees that we’re dialing into an emergent problem. There are plenty of dissenting scientific voices saying there’s no established and/or consistent association between cell phone use and brain tumors or neurological disorders. Maybe so. But we also can’t say that every single study says they’re safe.

This is why the Precautionary Principle is so important. A precautionary approach tells us we don’t need a clear and verified cause and effect relationship between a hazard and its possible cause to take action. Mere suggestion is enough. And when it comes to cell phones, we’ve got plenty of that. I’ll be happy to have my precautionary cell phone use advice proven unnecessary someday. But until then, I’m not taking any needless chances, and I would strongly suggest that you don’t take any, either, because while the studies may be wrong, what if they’re right?

Click here to call up our list of suggestions for safer cell phone use. At this time, we can’t be sure that these tips will offer moms-to-be and their children-in-waiting the same protection they offer non-pregnant adults. Until more is known, we recommend that a precautionary do-not-use policy for pregnant women as the best way to be sure that everyone stays safe.

photo: Jason DeRusha

7
Comments

jojos picture
jojos
08/27/09
Yes you are right that cell phone emits hazardous rays that are injurious for human brain especially for children. It is true that during the pregnancy stages a woman should avoid cell phone as much as possible.
EMFreview picture
EMFreview
09/23/08
rrigoglioso, here is the <a href="http://emfreview.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=1474&PostID=25334" target="_blank">direct link</a>
EMFreview picture
EMFreview
09/22/08
This is a great article. We need to learn all we can about this issue. We have more information on health risks and also feature shielding devices on <a href="http://emfreview.com/" target="_blank">our blog</a>.
rrigoglioso picture
rrigoglioso
07/01/08
I've scoured the Internet for reliable information about cell phone shields and come up with dozens of products claiming to protect against cell phone radiation with little science to back them up. Does anyone know if there is an independent consumer group, scientists, or other organization that is testing the claims that these products are making? I wound up buying Safe Cell Tabs because the website has perhaps the most compelling science I could find, but even that remains thin. Have I just been taken for a ride or am I being smart? I'd love some reliable information so I can protect myself from radiation and not get scammed. Any ideas?
Madsouz picture
Madsouz
06/14/08
Deepelemgirl brings up a good point which is incorrectly addressed in the blog (this study does NOT show that cell phones are not safe for fetuses) but IS addressed in the actual journal article - that these are associations, not causation. As good scientists they say in the conclusion of their abstract "These associations may be noncausal and may be due to unmeasured confounding." The good thing about this study is that it can be used to develop new studies that can take potential confounders into consideration and give us better information. The participants in this study were also asked these questions long after (7-8 years) the events took place, which in my opinion is a weakness in the study, but may have been done for financial reasons (it would be extremely expensive to get these data from 13,000 people on a yearly basis and to manage and analyze all of it). I'm certainly no expert on Danish culture (which would be changing over the past 10 years anyway), but my impression of family life there is that families tend to be closer and have much more interaction than your average middle-class American family. Assuming this is the case to some extent, it is even more interesting that they found a statistically significant increase in behavioral problems. If the children are in family/social situations where they would be less likely to develop behavioral problems due to familial/social factors (compared to say, Americans) and they still have this increase, that is a very interesting problem to investigate, regardless of whether cell phone use is a contributor or not.
csgtdw picture
csgtdw
06/12/08
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman has some interesting research information regarding behavioral problems and TV/Video Games. I would check out some of his writings. He primarily does self-help on urban combat for military and law enforcement but he has a vein of information regarding this matter. It is very eye opening. I am thrilled to have heard him speak prior to the birth of my children because I already know there won't be a television in the house.
deepelemgirl picture
deepelemgirl
06/11/08
Even the original article itself states: "They add that there might be other possible explanations that they did not examine – such as that mothers who used the phones frequently might pay less attention to their children" This was my immediate thought. I've had a TV free home for years now and parents ask me why my daughter excels at reading, etc. Well, probably because there's no TV. It makes more sense that this explanation would apply for the cell phones & behavioral problems to me, especially since the scientists say "the results were "unexpected", and that they knew of no biological mechanisms that could cause them."