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Cell Phones Risky During Pregnancy?

Unlikely Finding: More Bad Behavior at Age 7 if Mom, Child Used Cell Phone

Cell Phone/Pregnancy Risk "Would Not Go Away" continued...

Some things about the findings just don't make a lot of intuitive sense. For example, only 1% of kids used cell phones more than an hour a week.

"Use of cell phones by children in this group was so infrequent and short term that the causal effect due to these exposures seems unlikely, according to our present knowledge," Olsen and colleagues note in their report.

But other things about the study seem to implicate cell phones. The more exposure women had to cell phones during pregnancy, the higher the odds of behavior problems in their child. And while risk from children's use of cell phones seems improbable, it adds to the risk from fetal exposure -- by just as much as one would expect from a real 18% increase in risk.

So what does Olsen really think about the risk from cell phones?

"This study just raises suspicion. It does not indicate a strong association, but calls for caution in using cell phones during pregnancy and early childhood," he says. "We would like pregnant women not to be concerned if they used a cell phone during pregnancy. And even for children with both mother and self use, 90% do not have these behavior problems, so even if this is real it only affects a small subset of the population."

Olsen says more research is needed. So does Joseph E. Farren, assistant vice president for public affairs at CTIA-The Wireless Association, the trade group that represents the wireless telephone industry.

"The overwhelming majority of studies that have been published in scientific journals around the globe show that wireless phones do not pose a health risk," Farren tells WebMD. "The industry supports continued research as technology continues to evolve, but wishes to stress the fact that there is a consensus among leading health organizations regarding published scientific research showing no reason for concern."

Olsen and colleagues report their findings in the July issue of the journal Epidemiology.

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