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Health & Pregnancy

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Cell Phone Use in Pregnancy: Risks for Child?

Study Shows Possible Link Between Prenatal Cell Phone Exposure and Childhood Behavior Problems

Reducing Cell Phone Exposure

The time to act is now, says Devra Davis, PhD, MPH, the founder of Environmental Health Trust, a group that educates the public about environmental health risks and pushes for policy changes needed to reduce these risks. She is also the author of Disconnect: The Truth about Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family.

“Pregnant women should be careful about exposure for lots of reasons, not this study. Warnings actually appear on phones that say pregnant woman should avoid exposure to their abdomen,” she says.

“Do not keep it on your abdomen, use it with a headset or speaker phone,” she says.

Davis practices what she preaches; she spoke to WebMD using a headset with her cell phone. “It is better be safe than sorry,” she says. “We do not have a lot of data, and if we are smart we would not insist on waiting to get lots of data before taking these simple precautions.”

It’s not just pregnant women who need to heed this advice. Several studies have shown that men who keep their cell phones in their pocket may risk damaging their sperm, she says.

John Walls, vice president of public affairs at CTIA-The Wireless Association, a trade group representing the wireless industry, tells WebMD that his group “stands behind the research review by independent and renowned public health agencies around the world which states that there are no known adverse health effects associated with using wireless devices.”

Jeff Stier, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, a conservative think tank, says that the new study is full of holes. “For starters, self-reporting of cell phone use makes it impossible to assign any meaning to the exposure,” he says.

“Different phones give off different exposures, and even those who were reported to be not exposed, probably had significant environmental exposure, rendering the study only slightly more than amusing,” he tells WebMD in an email.

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