Should Pregnant Women Ditch SSRIs, Microwaves and Cellphones?

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New studies suggest that prenatal exposure to anti-depressants, microwaves and cellphones may lead to ADHD and autism. Anneli Rufus culls the research on the choices that impact our kids.

Pregnant? Planning to get that way? The scientific research piles up sky-high on what to do and what not to do if you want to have a healthy baby. And it’s not just a simple matter of putting down the crack pipe.

New studies link childhood problems asthma, ADHD, obesity, and developmental delays with prenatal exposure to everything from mobile phones to microwave ovens to freeways.

“So many things to which we are exposed are such an integral part of our environment already,” says Berkeley obstetrician Laura Stachel, the associate director of emergency obstetric research in West Africa for the Bixby Center for Population Health and Sustainability.

Magnetic fields, for instance. Magnetic-field exposure is typically associated with microwave ovens, power lines, vacuum cleaners, and hair dryers. The children of women who experience high exposure to magnetic fields while pregnant are three times as likely to have asthma by age 13 as are children of mothers who experience low magnetic-field exposure, according to one Kaiser Permanente study.

And the children of mothers who live within 1,000 feet of a freeway while pregnant are twice as likely to be on the autism spectrum as children of mothers who do not live near freeways, according to a University of California study.

According to a Danish study, children exposed to mobile phones while in the womb are 30 percent more likely to have ADHD by age 7 than children who were not exposed to mobile phones while in the womb.

“Exposure to cellphones prenatally and, to a lesser degree, postnatally was associated with behavioral difficulties such as emotional and hyperactivity problems around the age of school entry,” warn the study’s authors.

And you don’t have to be a farmworker to be exposed to pesticides, which researchers link with low IQ and obesity in children, among other problems. We commonly ingest pesticide residue on non-organic produce. From there it enters the blood and breast milk.

“It’s really depressing, isn’t it?” Stachel asks.

Yes, but depression itself raises risks: according to a study released this month, the children of mothers who take SSRI antidepressant medications while pregnant are twice as likely to be on the autism spectrum as are the children of mothers not on SSRIs. That’s jarring news, given another new report claiming that one in every four American women now takes SSRIs.

“Previous studies in rats born to mothers taking SSRI antidepressants showed changes in the young rodents indicating that their brains weren’t properly conducting or processing information,” explains Kentucky physician Rallie McAllister, coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth. “Some of the rats displayed abnormal behavior after birth, such as becoming excessively fearful in new situations and an inability to play normally with peers. These are traits that are commonly associated with autism in children.

“Preliminary research suggests that manipulation of serotonin levels in the developing brain of the unborn baby might disrupt the proper development of the sensory-processing regions of the brain, and that maintaining the delicate balance of serotonin appears to be necessary for proper brain maturation,” McAllister says.

Yet another new study suggests that fetuses “know” when their mothers are depressed and that pregnant women’s changing emotional states affect fetal development.

From conception onward, should women sip two screwdrivers per week while patting dogs and eating organic sprouts very calmly, because stress during pregnancy is a famous risk factor?

Some behaviors we know are risky, but maybe not how or how much. Along with all the other dangers linked to smoking while pregnant, one new study found that the children of women who smoke at least 20 cigarettes per day while pregnant are 30 percent more likely to have been arrested by age 33 than the children of nonsmoking women.

Another study found that men whose mothers smoked while pregnant have a 25 percent lower sperm count than men whose mothers did not smoke while pregnant.

Don’t look down: according to that same study, men who were exposed to smoking in utero also have testicles 1.15 millileter smaller than men whose mothers never smoked while pregnant.

Meanwhile, some behaviors and exposures long considered hazardous might be quite the opposite.

For instance, in-utero exposure to pets might make kids less allergic to pets. A study that examined the levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE), a type of antibody associated with allergic reactions, found that children born into homes with indoor pet dogs or cats had 28 percent lower IgE levels associated with reduced allergic symptoms than children born into pet-free homes.

“The results of this study offer additional support for ‘the Hygiene Hypothesis,’ which holds that children who are around animals and other children early in life are exposed to a wider variety of microbes than children who are not,” McAllister says. “As a result, the exposed children’s immune systems develop a greater tolerance for irritants and allergens. Human immune systems need ‘practice’ fighting bacteria and viruses.”

And despite what we know about fetal alcohol syndrome, one study found that the sons and daughters of women who drink “lightly” defined as one or two alcoholic beverages per week—are 3 and 2 percent less likely to have “social or emotional difficulties” at age 5 than the offspring of women who drank no alcohol while pregnant.

“There are two possibilities here,” says Keith Eddleman, director of obstetrics at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Queens, N.Y., and co-author of The Pregnancy Bible. “The first is that maybe there is some protective substance in alcoholic beverages that protects these sons and daughters from social and emotional difficulties. The more likely possibility is that there are other differences between mothers who do and do not consume alcohol during pregnancy that could explain this finding.”

That’s worth noting when confronting any such stats: association doesn’t automatically mean causation. Yes, the offspring of mothers who eat only junk food while pregnant are nearly twice as likely to become “junk food junkies” as the offspring of mothers who eat balanced diets while pregnant at least according to one Australian study. But who knows what else is going on with women who feast on junk food or snort coke, smoke heavily, eat conventionally grown produce, take SSRIs, or do pretty much anything at all that might affect their babies?

“Any mother taking cocaine or smoking during pregnancy … may have other factors that lead to smoking or cocaine use,” says Stachel, whose WE CARE program supplies African hospitals with lighting, equipment and power. “They may be more stressed, more depressed, more angry, eating a worse diet, taking worse care of themselves and their children, for example, than moms not exposed to cigarettes or cocaine during pregnancy.”

So what can we control? From conception onward, should women sip two screwdrivers per week while patting dogs and eating organic sprouts very calmly, because stress during pregnancy is a famous risk factor? Numerous studies link prenatal stress with ADHD and low IQ in children. A Dutch study found that the babies of women who had high anxiety while pregnant are 9 percent more likely to have skin problems or respiratory illness than those of women who remained relatively stress-free while pregnant.

A likely culprit is the “stress hormone,” cortisol.

“Moms-to-be with high stress levels have higher cortisol levels, to which their unborn babies are exposed,” McAllister explains. “At appropriate levels and in the short term, cortisol can help the body deal successfully with stressful situations. But at higher levels and over longer periods of time, cortisol can have negative effects on the body.”

These effects include interference with immune function, blood sugar, and digestion, as well as increased inflammation and bone loss. This, says McAllister, “is enough to suggest that moms-to-be can benefit from steering clear of stressful situations and environments as much as possible.”

A raft of research confirms this. So relax. Right now. For real. Far from the nearest freeway. Back away slowly from that hair dryer. And put down the cellphone.

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Experts Criticise Study Linking Magnetic Field Exposure to Asthma Risk

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Experts in epidemiology have described as weak a study that found high levels of exposure to magnetic fields during pregnancy may triple the risk the child will develop asthma.

The California study, published in the journal Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, required 801 pregnant women to wear meters for 24 hours that measured their exposure to magnetic fields, such as those emitted by power lines, flourescent lights, hairdryers and microwave ovens. EMF emitted by wi-fi networks and mobile phones were not included in the study.

Checks on the resulting offspring 13 years later revealed that children whose mothers had a high level of magnetic field exposure during pregnancy were 3.5 times more likely to develop asthma than those whose mothers experienced low levels of exposure.

“Our findings provide new epidemiological evidence that high maternal [magnetic field] levels in pregnancy may increase the risk of asthma in offspring,” the authors wrote in their paper.

However, experts in the design of health studies have described the research as having “major deficiencies” and ignoring previous studies that found there was limited evidence of a link.

“There are major deficiencies in the epidemiological methods which lack detail and, for example, specifically fail to identify the proportions of mothers who did not take part (refusals, non-English speakers) and children who were excluded,“ said Professor Patricia McKinney, Professor of Paediatric Epidemiology at the University of Leeds.

“The characteristics of the non-participants need to be described as they may influence interpretation of the results.”

It was impossible to know how representative the study sample was and whether selection bias may have influenced the outcome, she said.

Professor McKinney pointed out that the meters measured exposure for just one day during the entire nine months of pregnancy.

“Furthermore, the vulnerability of the fetus varies throughout pregnancy and most exposures which cause harm do so during a ‘critical window’ and not across the nine months of pregnancy.””

Rodney Croft, Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Wollongong and an expert on the health risks of electromagnetic field emitting devices, also warned against drawing hasty conclusions from the California study.

“Unfortunately, there are too many issues with this paper to make it more than a hypothesis-generating exercise, and certainly it does not justify any concern at present. There are problems with both the study itself, as well as how the authors interpret their findings,“ he said.

“For example, it does not provide a good measure of exposure (it merely assumes that a personal dosimeter from one day provides a good estimate of gestational exposure); it does not describe the extent to which multiple comparisons may have invalidated the conclusions (this is particularly important given that it is a very speculative study which, contrary to the assertions of the authors, is not based on reliable research suggesting an interaction between magnetic fields and disease).”

The researchers were unable to demonstrate that exposure to magnetic fields caused asthma in the resulting offspring he said.

“It is also worth clarifying some mixed messages from the paper: It claims to be assessing relations with magnetic fields in general, but it only looks at a subset of time varying magnetic fields (40-800 Hz), ignoring more prevalent magnetic fields such as the Earth’s (which falls below this frequency range but is about 100 times stronger); and it links these ‘extremely low frequency’ fields to ‘radiofrequency fields’ in the introduction, yet they are not related and affect the body in completely different ways.”  Magnetic Field Exposure 

Professor David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge, cautioned that the findings would need to be replicated by other researchers before any conclusions could be drawn.

“This study has the advantage of having measured exposure to magnetic fields during pregnancy rather than relying on recall, but the disadvantage that the possible association with asthma seems to be an afterthought in a study of miscarriage,“ he said.

Prof William Stewart, Visiting Professor at University of Southampton and an expert in electromagnetic fields, said the study had “a number of weaknesses”, including the use of meters that measure only AC fields and not the Earth’s DC field.

“This is important because the biological interactions of pure magnetic fields are very small compared with those of electric fields – so the authors should not describe it as a magnetic field effect at all, or mums-to-be will start to hide from the earth’s 500mG field in magnetically-shielded rooms!”

He also said the authors, who used the same cohort sample of pregnant women for an earlier study on miscarriage, did not explicitly say how many health problems they were looking for in the offspring.

“If many other things were checked [such as autism, heart conditions or miscarriage] then the statistical significance threshold should have been raised accordingly.”

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Exposure to Magnetic Fields Linked to Asthma Risk

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CHICAGO – Children whose mothers had high exposure to electromagnetic fields while pregnant may have an increased risk of developing asthma, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a study that adds to an ongoing debate.

Many prior studies have failed to consistently show that chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields – from power lines and appliances such as microwaves ovens, hair dryers and vacuum cleaners – are harmful to human health.

But many of these studies required people to estimate their exposure levels over several years, says Dr. De-Kun Li, senior research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, whose study appears in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

To get a more conclusive answer, Li designed a so-called prospective study in which 801 pregnant women wore monitors that measured their exposure to magnetic fields for 24 hours.

These monitors measured their exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields from electronics such as microwaves, hair dryers, fans, coffee grinders and fluorescent light bulbs, power lines, and transformer stations.

It did not monitor exposure to higher frequency electromagnetic fields generated by cellphones or cellphone towers.

The team used medical records to follow the women’s children for 13 years. During the follow-up, 130 children, or 20.8 percent of study participants, developed asthma.

Most of these cases were diagnosed before age 5.

They then compared exposure levels during pregnancy to rates of asthma and found that children whose mothers had the highest exposure levels – within the top 10 per cent of women in the study – were 3.5 times more likely to develop asthma than those who were in the bottom 10 per cent.

The risk for children whose exposure was somewhere in the middle – between 10 per cent and 90 per cent – was 75 per cent higher than for those in the lowest exposure group.

For the average population, Li said, children of women whose exposure levels were in the range of the bottom 10 percent in the study would have about a 13.6 per cent absolute risk of developing asthma. Women whose exposure was in the highest range would have about a 33 per cent risk of having children who developed asthma over the 13 year study period.

Some 13 per cent of children under age 18 have asthma, which is caused by malfunction of the respiratory organs and the immune system.

Li said it is not clear why exposure to power lines might increase the risk of asthma, but he said there are several possibilities.

He said a prior study by his team found high exposure to electromagnetic fields increased the risk of miscarriages. And some animal studies have suggested that electromagnetic field exposure can affect immune response, which could increase the risk of asthma.

Exposure to power lines has been fodder for significant debate, and while many studies have found an effect of some sort – ranging from immune disorders and poor semen quality to certain types of cancers – Li said his study offers a stronger argument that concerns about magnetic fields may affect human health.

“”This really needs to be studied,”” Li said. He said there have been a lot of dismissive attitudes about the health effects of exposure to magnetic fields, and he hopes his study – which measured exposure levels ahead of time – will encourage others to look further.

Still, he concedes that his findings need to be replicated by different scientists.

Li said if the findings are confirmed, it may offer new strategies for preventing the chronic disease in children.

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Mums-to-be Exposed to Microwave Ovens up Offspring’s Risk of Obesity

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Washington, July 28 : In-utero exposure to relatively high magnetic field levels is associated with a 69 percent increased risk of being obese or overweight during childhood compared to lower in-utero magnetic field levels, according to a new study.

Researchers conducted the prospective cohort study, in which participating women in Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region carried a meter measuring magnetic field levels during pregnancy and 733 of their children were followed up to 13 years, to collect clinically recorded information on growth patterns. On average, 33 weight measurements per child were collected.

Researchers noted a dose response relationship with increasing in-utero magnetic field levels being associated with further increased risk of obesity or being overweight.

According to the authors, the observed association and supporting evidence provide the first epidemiologic findings that link increasing exposure to environmental magnetic fields, especially in-utero exposure, over the last few decades with the rapid rise in childhood obesity during the corresponding decades.

“Pregnancy is a critical developmental stage that is among the most vulnerable periods to environmental exposures,” said De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, a perinatal epidemiologist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland, California, and the lead author of the study.

“These findings indicate that electromagnetic fields from microwave ovens to countless wireless devices, may be contributing to childhood obesity risk. This finding could have implications for possibly reducing childhood obesity and better understanding the obesity epidemic. Like any scientific discoveries, the results need to be replicated by other studies,” he said.

After controlling for a child’s age at each weight measurement, child gender, maternal age at delivery, pre-pregnancy BMI, race, education level, smoking during pregnancy and breastfeeding, researchers reported a 50 percent increase of participants being obese or overweight for medium in–utero levels (1.5-2.5 mG), and an 84 percent increased risk for high in-utero levels (2.5mG). An mG, or milligauss, represents a unit of magnetic field level or strength as measured using a gaussmeter.

Higher EMF levels have also been associated with diabetes in humans, being overweight and high glucose levels in animals, and ADHD in mice offspring, explained Dr. Li.

In the current study, among those children with longer follow-up time (to the end of the study), the observed association was stronger (2.35 times the risk of childhood obesity/overweight for in-utero MF level 1.5 mG vs. = 1.5 mG).

The study appears in the current online version of Nature’s Scientific Reports. (ANI)

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Risk of Childhood Obesity Linked to Pregnant Mom’s Exposure to Magnetic Fields

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http://www.examiner.com/article/risk-of-childhood-obesity-linked-to-pregnant-mom-s-exposure-to-magnetic-fields

High magnetic field levels could raise the risk of an unborn baby becoming overweight or obese after the child is born. One more exposure scientists link to childhood obesity is the pregnant mother’s exposure to magnetic fields before the birth of her baby, according to a new study by Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.

Local researchers conducted the prospective cohort study, in which participating women in Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region carried a meter measuring magnetic field levels during pregnancy and 733 of their children were followed up to 13 years, to collect clinically recorded information on growth patterns. On average, 33 weight measurements per child were collected, according to a July 27, 2012 Kaiser Permanente news release, “”In-Utero Exposure to Magnetic Fields Associated with Increased Risk of Obesity in Childhood.””

In-utero exposure to relatively high magnetic field levels was associated with a 69 percent increased risk of being obese or overweight during childhood compared to lower in-utero magnetic field levels, according to a Kaiser Permanente study that appears in the current online version of the journal Nature Scientific Reports (Health Research). Also see, Scientific Reports FAQs – Nature.

Dose-related relationship with increasing in-utero magnetic field levels with increased risk of childhood obesity

Researchers noted a dose response relationship with increasing in-utero magnetic field levels being associated with further increased risk of obesity or being overweight. The observed association and supporting evidence provide the first epidemiologic findings that link increasing exposure to environmental magnetic fields, especially in-utero exposure, over the last few decades with the rapid rise in childhood obesity during the corresponding decades, according to the authors.

“Pregnancy is a critical developmental stage that is among the most vulnerable periods to environmental exposures,” said Dr. De-Kun Li, the lead author of the study, according to Kaiser Permanente’s July 27, 2012 news release, “”In-Utero Exposure to Magnetic Fields Associated with Increased Risk of Obesity in Childhood.”” De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, is a perinatal epidemiologist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland, California.

Wireless devices and microwave ovens may be contributing to the risk of childhood obesity

“These findings indicate that electromagnetic fields, from microwave ovens to countless wireless devices, may be contributing to childhood obesity risk. This finding could have implications for possibly reducing childhood obesity and better understanding the obesity epidemic. Like any scientific discoveries, the results need to be replicated by other studies,”” Dr. De-Kun Li explained in the July 27, 2012 Kaiser-Permanente news release.

After controlling for a child’s age at each weight measurement, child gender, maternal age at delivery, pre-pregnancy BMI, race, education level, smoking during pregnancy and breastfeeding, researchers reported a 50 percent increase of participants being obese or overweight for medium in-utero levels (1.5-2.5 mG), and an 84 percent increased risk for high in-utero levels (more than 2.5mG). An mG, or milligauss, represents a unit of magnetic field level or strength as measured using a gaussmeter.

The study follows up on a previous study that showed how electromagnetic fields may impact pregnancy outcomes and childhood diseases including asthma and diabetes

This study follows previous work from Dr. Li (and others) that showed electromagnetic fields may impact pregnancy outcomes and childhood diseases including asthma. Higher EMF levels have also been associated with diabetes in humans, being overweight and high glucose levels in animals, and ADHD in mice offspring, explained Dr. Li in the Kaiser news release.

In the current study, among those children with longer follow-up time (to the end of the study), the observed association was stronger (2.35 times the risk of childhood obesity/overweight for in-utero MF level > 1.5 mG vs. ≤ 1.5 mG). Similarly, if the study only considered those who were persistently obese/overweight through childhood during the follow-up, the association was also much stronger (almost five-fold increased risk of obesity/overweight for in-utero MF level > 1.5 mG vs. < 1.5 mG).

Electro-magnetic frequencies during pregnancy could impact fetal development

“EMF exposure during pregnancy could impact the fetal development, including endocrine and metabolic systems, predisposing offspring to higher risk of obesity,” Dr. Li said in Kaiser’s news release. He added that environmental impacts tend to be amplified during fetal development, both in terms of affecting multiple organ systems and having long-lasting changes to physiology, such as to the endocrine systems and hormone receptors.

Researchers examined maternal factors, prenatal factors, childhood factors, outcome measures and other factors that could be confounders. Among 18 factors examined, only family income and childhood habits of eating fruits and vegetables varied among the three maternal MF exposure groups. However, there was not a consistent pattern of MF exposure with family income: women with either low or high family income had lower MF exposure level than women with medium family income.

Environmental impacts tend to be amplified during fetal development

Children eating more fruits and vegetables tended to have a mother who had higher MF exposure during pregnancy. There was no difference among the three MF exposure groups in the average number of weight measurements per child. The proportion of children who remained in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California integrated care delivery system at the end of the study (11 years and older) was almost identical in all three groups. None of the 18 factors examined could explain the observed association.

“Expectant mothers should take this new research into account, but they should not panic,” said Ruth Shaber, MD, medical director of the Center for Healthcare Delivery at the Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute, according to the Kaiser news release. “We still have a lot more to learn about the impact of the environment on pregnancy and young children.”

Low-fat diets, weight-loss and menopause, another recent Kaiser study

You may also want to check out another Kaiser study published on July 11, 2012, “”Weight Loss Resulting from a Low-Fat Diet May Help Eliminate Hot Flashes and Night Sweats in Menopausal Women.””

Weight loss that occurs in conjunction with a low-fat, high fruit and vegetable diet may help to reduce or eliminate hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause, according to a Kaiser Permanente Division of Research study that appears in the current issue of the journal Menopause.

This Women’s Health Initiative study of 17,473 women found that women on a diet low in fat and high in whole grains, fruit and vegetables, who had menopausal symptoms, who were not taking hormone replacement therapy, and who lost weight (10 or more pounds or 10 or more percent of their baseline body weight), were more likely to reduce or eliminate hot flashes and night sweats after one year, compared to those in a control group who maintained their weight.

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Pregnant Women are at Risk From Magnetic Radiation

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Microwave ovens and other wireless appliances may be increasing the odds that your child will be overweight or obese later, a new study said.

According to researchers, magnetic fields from these appliances during pregnancy can increase risk of the baby growing up to be overweight or obese by almost 69 percent.

“Pregnancy is a critical developmental stage that is among the most vulnerable periods to environmental exposures. These findings indicate that electromagnetic fields, from microwave ovens to countless wireless devices, may be contributing to childhood obesity risk,” said De-Kun Li, a perinatal epidemiologist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland, and the lead author of the study.

Mothers participating in the study carried a meter that measured the magnetic field that they were being exposed to during the pregnancy. The researchers then studied growth of some 733 babies born to these mothers. Researchers tracked every child in the study group for almost 11 years. During this period, researchers collected height and weight measurements.

Researchers found that low to medium exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) was associated with about 50 percent increase in obesity risk while a high EMF exposure lead to an increase in obesity rates by about 84 percent.

“This finding could have implications for possibly reducing childhood obesity and better understanding the obesity epidemic. Like any scientific discoveries, the results need to be replicated by other studies,” Dr. Li said.

Researchers have earlier found a link between high exposure to magnetic fields during pregnancy and asthma risk in children. According to researchers, environment factors are amplified during development of the baby in the womb and these factors affect many organ systems and some of these changes remain for a long time.

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Secondhand Exposure to Cell Phone Radiation: An Emerging Public Health Problem?

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Many people are unaware that they are exposed to cell phone radiation when their cell phones are in standby mode. This occurs because their cell phone contacts the nearest cell tower periodically to update its location.

In a moving vehicle, cell phones in standby mode contact cell towers more frequently. Thus, exposure to cell phone radiation from one’s cell phone is greater in transit.

Two Swiss researchers, Damiano Urbinello and Martin Roosli, set out to measure personal cell phone radiation exposure during car, bus and train trips when one’s own phone was in standby mode.

Their study just published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology identified a source of cell phone radiation that may constitute a public health problem. Namely, secondhand exposure to cell phone radiation from other people’s cell phones can be considerable while traveling on buses and trains (1).

During bus or train trips, individuals may be exposed to considerable amounts of cell phone radiation from other people’s cell phones. Buses and railroad cars act like “”Faraday cages”” that reflect much of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones throughout the vehicles’ interiors. Thus, all passengers, including infants and pregnant women as well as those without cell phones, may be exposed to considerable levels of cell phone radiation emitted by others’ phones.

As for car trips, the results of the study suggest that exposure to cell phone radiation from one’s own phone in standby mode is relatively low compared to overall exposures during public transit. Nonetheless, those who are concerned about their exposure to cell phone radiation should turn off their phones during car trips, or at the very least, avoid using their phones for calls.

● “”The study indicates that own uplink exposure during car driving can be considerably reduced (about a fraction of 100) when turning off ones own mobile phone in order to prevent it from location updates.”” (1)

The researchers found that GSM, the 2G carrier system in Europe which is used in the U.S. for voice communication by AT&T and T-Mobile, is particularly problematic compared to UMTS, a 3G carrier system used for data transmission. The researchers did not test CDMA which in the U.S. is used by Verizon and Sprint for voice calls. Other research has found that GSM emits 13 to 28 times more radiation on average than CDMA during phone calls. No published studies have examined exposures from LTE, the 4G carrier system now in widespread use in this country.

● “”GSM levels in the reference scenario during bus and train rides were about 100 times higher than those during car rides. As a consequence of this high background exposure in trains, due to the use of other people’s mobile phone in a closed area intensified by the Faraday cage effect, the relative contribution of the location update from ones own mobile phone is small”” (1)

The study also reported that smart phones, including the iPhone 4 and the Blackberry Bold 8800, which can operate on four radiofrequency bands emit more radiation during standby mode than classic phones, like the Nokia 2600, which operate on two bands.

Earlier this year, a study was published that examined cell phones in standby mode while stationary. Kjell Mild and his colleagues from Sweden found that under these conditions cell phones contacted the cell towers only once every two to five hours. They concluded that exposure to cell phone radiation in this situation “”can be considered negligible.”” (2)

These studies should be replicated in the U.S. as well as in other countries since every cell phone carrier system operates differently.

In the meantime it is advisable to keep cell phone use in moving vehicles to a minimum as low level exposures to cell phone radiation have been associated with deleterious effects in humans.

To protect us from the health risks associated with cell phones and related devices (e.g., cordless phones, Wi-Fi, wireless Smart Meters and security systems, and cell towers), we need research independent of industry to develop biologically-based standards and safer technologies. A nickel a month from each cell phone subscription would suffice to fund a comprehensive program of research. Since the average cell phone subscription costs more than $47.00 per month, this tiny fee constitutes a prudent investment in our health and our children’s health.

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Pembroke Pines, FL: The New Battleground For Cell Phone Radiation

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We have been seeing a torrent of changes in the way that people, governments and legal bodies have been approaching the issue of cell phone radiation.

We recently reported a groundbreaking court case in Italy that ruled in favor of a man who claimed he developed a brain tumor as a result of excessive phone use for his work.

Another high profile occurrence was a recent study that was released which indicated a negative affect on unborn fetuses from phone radiation.

These are only a few of the changes that are going on worldwide, but in the last week a radical development occurred and it has turned the unlikely town of Pembroke Pines, FL into the new battleground for cell phone radiation awareness.

Inspired by a resident’s cancer survival story, Pembroke Pines passed what’s thought to be the first resolution in the state to warn residents about the possibility of cellphone radiation causing cancer.

Pembroke Pines resident Jimmy Gonzalez had a cancerous brain tumor removed from the area above Gonzalez’ left ear the same place where he held his cellphone for hours a day while working as an attorney. Just a year earlier, surgeons removed a tumor from his left hand, in between his index finger and middle finger.

The resolution encourages all residents to keep their cellphone at least one-inch away from their bodies, and to use a wired headset or speakerphone and to send messages by text or email. The resolution also encourages residents to stay informed about the latest scientific reports about cellphone radiation.

Pines plans to send the resolution, passed at its most recent meeting, to agencies across the state including the governor’s office, the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Legislature to encourage other cities and school boards to adopt a similar resolution to protect Floridians.

Does this sound familiar? That is because these are suggestions we have been promoting for quite sometimes. Simple and easy to follow tips that will help you limit the dangers of exposure to phone radiation.

We all know that smartphones are a huge part of our lives, and most of us are not willing to give them up. With tawkon for Android you don’t have to. You can talk all you want and tawkon will alert you when radiation levels spike, and suggest ways to lessen your exposure.

Do you think this is a harbinger of things to come? Will more towns, cities and states all over the country begin to adopt similar requirements?

What are your thoughts?

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Cell Phone Radiation Increases Risk of Parotid Gland Tumors

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Traditionally, parotid gland tumors have been very rare. And they’ve generally shown up in people after the age of 50.

Not so anymore. According to a study done by a research group in Israel, there has been a sharp increase in these types of malignant tumors and most of them are occurring with people under the age of 20. Cell phone radiation is the suspected culprit.

What is the Parotid Gland?

The parotid gland is a type of salivary gland in the cheek the one closest to where most people hold a cell phone.

What’s important is that the new data from the Israeli study show no similar increases in the two other major types of salivary glands the submandibular and sublingual glands that are further away from where a phone is generally held.

The study, headed by R. Czerninzki of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem at Hadassah school of Dental Medicine, reported a significant increase in incidence of parotid gland tumors over last 30 years. Finding a four-fold increase in parotid gland cancers from 1970-2006, they found the steepest increase happened after 2001.

US Senate Hearing on Cell Phone Radiation

In 2008, Dr. Siegal Sadetzki, principal investigator of another study on cell phone radiation testified in a US senate hearing that cell phones were identified as a contributor to salivary gland tumors. In his report, he stated that risk of getting a parotid tumor on same side of head used for speaking on cell phone increases by:

34% if you are regular cell phone user & have used a cell phone for 5 yrs
49% if you have spoken on phone for more than 266.3 hours during your lifetime
58% if you’ve had more than about 5500 calls in your lifetime
Parotid gland tumors are not the only tumors being linked to cell phones.

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Is There a Connection Between Autism Electromagnetic Radiation?

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Research has established a potential link between autism and fetal/neonatal exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic radiation. Based on epidemiological data, there has been a dramatic increase in the incidence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Recent evidence indicates the incidence of ASD to be roughly 1 per 110 children.

Some data suggest a possible correlation between autism incidence an environmental toxin known as radio frequency (RF) radiation. This is a biologically active substance. It is known that human exposure to RF radiation has increased during the past 20 years. It is suggested that fetal or neo-natal exposures to RF radiation may be associated with an increased incidence of autism.

Dr. George Louis Carlo PhD studied risks associated with cell phones funded by a government grant. The results he obtained initially indicated no correlations, however, by 1999, Dr. Carlo had obtained significantly more evidence pointing to a risk to DNA, eye cancers, and brain tumors.

At this time he developed a theory that low frequency cell phone signals are harmful to the functioning of cells. What can result of this impaired functioning is that cells which normally move wastes and toxins out of the body started to protect themselves and this cellular movement stopped. Without the ability to move wastes outside cells results in a buildup of toxins. Dr. Carlo’s hypothesis suggests that autistic children are less able to process heavy metals, so these remain in their bodies and cause neurological damage, including autism.

Further research conducted by Dr. Carlo along with Tamara Mariea and published in the Journal of the Australian College of Nutrition and Environmental Medicine in November 2007, demonstrated the positive effects that autistic children could experience in an Electromagnetic-free (EM-free) clinic. This was a trial with 20 autistic children, involving spending at least four hours, 2-3 times a week, in the EM-free clinic. In three months, analyses showed that heavy metals were beginning to be excreted by the children.

Food for Thought:

• The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sets standards for the amount of radio frequency that can be emitted by a cell phone based on the size and structure of a man’s head.
• Radio-frequency signals can reach deeper into children’s head because their skulls are thinner and their brains contain more fluid.
• In 2004, standards relaxed and roughly doubled the amount of radio frequency that could reach an adult brain and quadrupled that reaching a child’s.
• A child’s brain doubles in size during the first two years of life and keeps on developing until their early 20s.

Although it is impossible to pinpoint one single cause of autism or one single barrier to an autistic child’s successful recovery, we are continuing to take steps forwards in identifying contributing factors. It is definitely reasonable to agree with researchers who believe that the increase in exposure to EMR from all of the wireless devices in our lives in combination with environmental and genetic factors is creating the perfect storm to increase the incidence of autism.

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