Health, Science-Technology

Prenatal cell phone use may cause behavioral problems

Turkish social media expert says studies suggest emotional, hyperactivity problems in offspring due to exposure to radiation

Sena Güler   | 09.11.2019
Prenatal cell phone use may cause behavioral problems

ANKARA 

Use of cell phone during pregnancy poses increased risk for behavioral problems in the offspring, a Turkish social media specialist said citing researches. 

“In today's world of technology, wireless devices are with us day and night, and emit energy called electromagnetic radio waves can end up in our bodies,” Deniz Unay told Anadolu Agency.

Unay said a certain quantity of low-energy microwave radiation can cause little amount of rise in heat that can damage the DNA.

“A study by a team of scientists at Yale University found that exposure to wireless radiation may be linked to behavioral problems such as ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder] and impaired memory,” he said.

In a 2012 study, Dr. Taylor Hugh at Yale School of Medicine said: “We have shown that behavioral problems in mice that resemble ADHD are caused by exposure to cell phone in the womb.”

“Cell phones have become an inseparable part of our lives. From teens to older people, everyone is addicted to this device and pregnant women are no exception,” Unay stressed.

Citing another research by the University of California in 2008, Unay said: “The study was conducted on thousands of women whose children were about seven years old. They received a questionnaire about their children's health and behavior, and their history of exposure to the cell phones as well as current cell phone use by the children.”

The study concluded that exposure to cell phones “prenatally and, to a lesser degree, postnatally was associated with behavioral difficulties such as emotional and hyperactivity problems around the age of school entry.”

Unay highlighted that most future mothers are conscious about what to eat, wear, and what product to use on their skins and asked: “But what about the cell phones and other high-tech gadgets that most of us use daily?”

“Scientists have found that children absorb more radiation than adults, so they face greater risk of exposure to toxic substances, it is important to do everything possible to protect our growing children -- even when they are in the womb,” he said.

Another research published in 2017 in Environment International journal was conducted with participation of thousands of mother-child pairs in five cohorts from Denmark, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, and Spain.

The study -- which examined cell phone use based on the frequency of calls during pregnancy reported by mothers -- concluded: “Maternal cell phone use during pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk for behavioral problems, particularly hyperactivity/inattention problems, in the offspring.”

Ways to reduce exposure to radiation

Unay said that simple adjustments in lifestyle would reduce the health risks that wireless emissions pose.

He advised not to use cell phones and laptops with direct contact to your body.

“Although this is a common habit, science indicates that it can be very risky for the development of unborn children,” he said, adding that the offspring also face the same risk.

He added that turning Wi-Fi and Bluetooth off when one does not need them and unplugging the devices would help reduce the emissions.

“Instead, charge the batteries of these devices before you need to work with them, and connect to the internet with a wired cable,” Unay said.

Speaking of having long phone calls, he said: “Instead of talking on a cell phone near the brain, use the phones in speaker mode.

Urging for avoiding Bluetooth, Unay said: “Wired headphones can also reduce brain’s exposure to the EMF [electromagnetic field].”

He also advised shortening the duration of cell phone use to reduce exposure to radiation.

“To help achieve this, sending text messages instead of calls can help reduce the time you spent with your mobile phone. Texting exposes you to less radiation,” Unay said.

He highlighted that using cell phones when the signal strength is weak causes more exposure to radiation, as the device works harder to get better signals.

Unay concluded that most healthcare professionals find the researches on the topic too inconclusive to recommend people to make any change in their lifestyle.

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