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Fetal Exposure to Magnetic Fields From Appliances, Power Lines May Up Kids' Asthma Risk
Date:8/1/2011

elds had asthma, compared to 20.3 percent in the moderate group and 33.3 percent of the children of mothers with the highest magnetic field exposure.

"This is a carefully executed and analyzed study with a very provocative finding," said Dr. Jonathan Samet, a professor in the department of preventive medicine and director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Southern California, who has studied the health impacts of electromagnetic fields. "This initial finding needs replication; the association is strong and merits follow-up."

The study also found strong associations between EMFs and asthma in women whose children had other risk factors for developing asthma, including the mother having asthma herself or being the first-born child.

The children of mothers who had asthma and were exposed to high levels of EMF had six times the chances of having asthma, while first-born children had a 40 percent increased risk of having asthma if their mothers were exposed to high levels of EMFs.

Overall, about 13 percent of U.S. children have asthma, according to background information in the article, while prevalence has risen 74 percent from 1980 to 1996. The rapid rise has led experts to search for environmental exposures that might be contributing to the increase.

Magnetic fields are ubiquitous in modern life. Anything electronic, such as appliances and power lines, generate magnetic fields. Cell phones and other wireless technology are another source of EMF, although in the study, the device worn by the women was only able to measure lower frequency magnetic fields, such as those from household appliances and power sources. It was not able to track exposure to higher-frequency electromagnetic fields coming from wireless networks and cell phones.

Concern over EMFs was first raised decades ago. Prior research has searched for a link between EMFs and cancer. But most of those studies have found no association, leading to a "d
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