Wi-fi and cellphones and other forms of magnetic field non-ionizing radiation have been linked to pregnant women suffering miscarriages. Those exposed to the highest levels of MF radiation are 48 percent more likely to lose their baby than women exposed to the lowest amounts, the study found. The increased risk of miscarriage associated with high MF was consistently observed regardless of the sources of high MF.
The study authors write: Humans are now widely exposed to MF with ever-increasing intensity, due to the proliferation of MF-generating apparatuses such as wireless networks, smart meter networks, cell towers, wireless devices such as cell phones, etc. The steep increase in MF exposure has renewed concerns about the potential health effects of this invisible, man-made environmental exposure.
Researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, analyzed 913 pregnant women at varying stages of their gestation. Some of the study’s participants had previously suffered at least one miscarriage. All of the participants carried an EMDEX Lite meter, which measures MF-radiation exposure, for 24 hours on a typical day.
While the health hazards from ionizing radiation are well-established and include radiation sickness, cancer and genetic damage, the evidence of health risks to humans from non-ionizing radiation remains limited, said De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, principal investigator of the study.
“Few studies have been able to accurately measure exposure to magnetic field non-ionizing radiation,” Dr. Li said. “In addition, due to the current lack of research on this subject, we don’t know the biological threshold beyond which problems may develop, and we also don’t yet understand the possible mechanisms for increased risks.”
Among pregnant women exposed to the highest levels of MF radiation, 24.2 per cent had a miscarriage compared to 10.4 per cent of those exposed to the lowest amounts. This risk occurs regardless of whether women have suffered miscarriages in the past and are therefore more likely to lose another baby before its birth.
Participants kept a diary of their activities on that day, and were interviewed in person to better control for possible confounding factors, as well as how typical their activities were on the monitoring day. Researchers controlled for multiple variables known to influence the risk of miscarriage, including nausea/vomiting, past history of miscarriage, alcohol use, caffeine intake and maternal fever and infections.
Although the researchers did not have information on the exact sources from which MF was generated, based on participants’ diary, they were able to examine whether MF exposure was from any of the following location categories: at home, at home in bed, at work, in transit, or from other sources. The association was observed consistently, regardless of the location.
Dr De-Kun Li said: “This study provides evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionizing radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health.”
Two previous studies measured EMF both inside, and in the surrounding areas, of the residence of participating pregnant women, found a higher risk of miscarriage associated with higher EMF exposure level. Two other studies examined the impact of EMF emitted from cell phones and wireless networks, and observed that more frequent cell phone use and close proximity to wireless base stations were both associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.
The Kaiser study authors note: “Unfortunately, the vast majority of epidemiological studies on MF health effects in the literature so far have been based on subjective and unreliable MF measurements. Thus, it is not surprising that many of the past studies failed to detect MF health effects.”
“In addition, the focus on studying MF effects on cancer has exacerbated the problem, since the development of cancer usually has a long latency period between exposure and outcome that could span several decades.”
“This has made accurately measure MF exposure in the etiologically relevant period (decades before the diagnosis of cancer) almost impossible. Those “null findings” have left a false impression of the “safety” of MF exposure.”
The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-16623-8
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