by Susan Patterson
Mothers who are in close contact with electromagnetic fields while pregnant could have children with an increased risk of developing asthma, state U.S. scientists. Such devices examined in the study included microwaves ovens, hair dryers and vacuum cleaners.
The study conducted fits in with the ongoing debate as to the impact that long-term exposure to electromagnetic fields, such as power lines, vacuum cleaners, appliances and hair dryers, has on human health. Previous studies that have denied a relationship exists between electromagnetic exposure and health have not measured exposure directly but asked participants to estimate exposure.
Published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, scientists from Kaiser Permanente conducted a study that involved a group of 801 expecting women. The mothers-to-be were fitted with electromagnetic monitors that recorded the amount of low-frequency electromagnetic exposure they received over 24 hours.
Medical records were used to track the children of exposed mothers over a period of 13 years. The study revealed that almost 21 percent of the children had developed asthma; most by the time they were just 5 years old. When these results were compared against the mother’s exposure levels it was found that those who were within the highest amount of exposure were 3.5 times more likely to have a child with asthma than those in the lower exposure group. Children moderately exposed were at a 75% increased risk of asthma than those in the lowest exposure group.
Dr. De-Kun Li, senior research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California and other researchers suspect that electromagnetic fields, which have previously been linked to an increase in miscarriages, may affect immune response, which can trigger the development of asthma. At the least, states Li, this study suggests a need for further research into the issue.
Similar research revolving around the impact electromagnetic frequencies have on animals and humans found that exposure to these fields negatively alters important proteins found in the brain. The researchers found that 143 proteins in the brain were negatively impacted by radio frequency radiation over a period of 8 months. A total of 3 hours of cell phone exposure were simulated over the 8 month time period, and the results showed that many neural function related proteins’ functional relationship changed the for worse.
About 13 percent of children under the age of 18 have asthma, a condition that is caused by a malfunction of the immune system and the respiratory organs. Asthma is often treated with harsh pharmaceutical drugs that were found to actually kill more people each year than asthma alone, but safer solutions – such as minimizing exposure to electromagnetic chaos – do exist.