Women who are exposed to power lines and other sources of magnetic fields are at a much higher risk of giving birth to children who develop asthma later.The results of a study which have just been published in the Archives Of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, are very disconcerting. Although personal injury lawyershave been concerned about the issue of exposure to power lines, other studies have dismissed the issue.
The researchers used 801 pregnant women from Southern California in the study.These women were required to wear a monitoring device twenty-four hours a day.The device measured their exposure to magnetic fields.The women were required to wear the devices during the first and second trimester of pregnancy.The device measured magnetic exposure from a number of appliances, including vacuum cleaners and dryers.
After the women gave birth to their children, the researchers began to monitor the children over the next thirteen years.Over this thirteen-year period, the researchers found that 130 children developed asthma, most of them being diagnosed with asthma before they turned five.What’s more, the researchers found that each one milligaus increase in exposure to magnetic fields resulted in a 15 percent increase in asthma risks in children born to these women.
Children born to women with high exposure to magnetic fields had the highest risk of asthma.In women who were exposed to a magnetic field of more than two mG, the risk of asthma in children increased by 3.5 times.The researchers were stunned at the dramatically increased risk of developing asthma in pregnant women exposed to magnetic fields.Even when women were exposed to moderate magnetic field levels, the risk of the children developing asthma increased by 75%.
The researchers accounted for a number of factors that can increase the risk of asthma in children including the age of the mother, smoking, breast-feeding habits, birth weight of the fetus, social economic background and family history.They also found that two risk factors in childhood asthma – being the firstborn child and a history of asthma in the mother’s family – seemed to get amplified when the pregnant woman was exposed to magnetic fields.
The researchers say that they need more studies to conclusively prove a link between exposure to magnetic fields and the risk of childhood asthma.However, they are very concerned about the results of this particular study, and suggest that pregnant women limit their exposure to electromagnetic fields as much as possible.However, some scientists have criticized the methodologies used in this research, calling them flawed.
This is not the first study to probe a link between the health effects of magnetic field exposure and human health.Previous studies have found that women who had such exposure during pregnancy had a much high risk of miscarriage and were also at a higher risk for the development of immune disorders.However, this is believed to be the first study that shows a link between exposure to electromagnetic fields and the development of asthma in children.