Use of mobile phone during pregnancy and the risk of spontaneous abortion
Fatemeh Shamsi Mahmoudabadi, Saeideh Ziaei, Mohammad Firoozabadi, and Anoshirvan Kazemnejad. Use of mobile phone during pregnancy and the risk of spontaneous abortion. J Environ Health Sci Eng. 2015 Apr 21; . doi: 10.1186/s40201-015-0193-z. eCollection 2015.
BACKGROUND: Exposure to electromagnetic fields of cell phones increasingly occurs, but the potential influence on spontaneous abortion has not been thoroughly investigated.
METHODS: In a case-control study, 292 women who had an unexplained spontaneous abortion at < 14 weeks gestation and 308 pregnant women > 14 weeks gestation were enrolled. Two data collection forms were completed; one was used to collect data about socioeconomic and obstetric characteristics, medical and reproductive history, and lifestyles. Another was used to collect data about the use of cell phones during pregnancy. For the consideration of cell phone effects, we measured the average calling time per day, the location of the cell phones when not in use, use of hands-free equipment, use of phones for other applications, the specific absorption rate (SAR) reported by the manufacturer and the average of the effective SAR (average duration of calling time per day × SAR). Analyses were carried out with statistical package state software(SPSS)v.16.
RESULTS: All the data pertaining to mobile phones were different between the two groups except the use of hands free devices (p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Our result suggests that use of mobile phones can be related to the early spontaneous abortions.
Open Source Paper: http://1.usa.gov/1d4zZd9
The major focus of research has been on radio-frequency (RF) radiation, which is mainly generated by phones, while some scientists are concerned about the possible impact of exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) fields generated by supply currents in the phone [5-7]. The device with the largest power consumption is the front-end amplifier. Consequently, the corresponding ELF-EMF has a spectrum similar to the pulse structure of RF signals.
For the consideration of cell phones effects, we measured the average calling time per day, the location of the cell phones when not in use (in handbags, clothing
pockets, or ≥60-70 cm away from the body), use of hands-free equipment, use of phones for other applications (to send messages, to listen to music, and to play games), the specific absorption rate (SAR) reported by the manufacturer and the average of the effective SAR (average duration of calling time per day × SAR).
As shown in Table 2, all of the data pertaining to the use of cell phones such as average calling time per day, the location of the cell phones when not in use, use of phones for other applications, the specific absorption rate (SAR) and the average of the effective SAR), except the use of hands free devices were different between the two groups(p < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis revealed a significant association between the effective SAR with the risk of spontaneous abortions after adjustment for maternal age, paternal age, history of abortions and family relationships (OR:1.11,p < 0.001)
This study demonstrated an increased risk of spontaneous abortions associated with EMF exposure and confirmed the results of other researches [10,12].
One potential limitation need to be kept in mind when one interprets the results of the current study. The study did not assess all the unknown risk factors for spontaneous abortions, such as balanced chromosomal abnormalities in one parent. Also, the data about unknown spontaneous abortion at very early stages were not collected. Other limitation of this study is its case control nature, and this can imply that caution should be taken in causal interpretations of the findings. The third limitation of this study is that cell phones may be not the only source of EMF. Since many parameters which can affect the EMF exposure and life styles like socioeconomic status were matched between the two groups, it is suspected that probably the effects that observed in this study are due to the use of cell phones.
Although the mechanisms underlying the effects of EMF on the risk of spontaneous abortions are not well understood, early embryos are known to be sensitive to
environmental exposures. An adverse effect during early fetal development at the cellular level by EMF of cell phones could conceivably result in fetal death. EMF in cell phones is both ELF-EMF and RF-EMF. Based on the distance from outside the body to inside the uterus, the exposure reaching the fetus is likely to be extremely low frequency electromagnetic radiation.
Despite the lack of a clear understanding of the underlying mechanisms, the present result suggests that the use of cell phones may be related to early spontaneous abortions, thus further study is warranted.
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
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