Kaiser Permanente Logo Nearly a month back we heard that depression during pregnancy may lead to childhood asthma. More recently, a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente scientists has revealed that children of pregnant women exposed to magnetic fields (EMF) seemingly have to face a greater risk for asthma. The latter is slowly becoming a chronic condition for children.

The study constituted nearly 801 pregnant women whose medical records were checked to gauge whose children developed asthma in the course of 13 years. It came to light that women who faced high magnetic field exposure apparently had kids with a 3 fold greater chance of asthma, unlike women who experienced lower exposure.

“While the replication of the finding is needed, the message here is exposure to electromagnetic fields is not good, and we need to pay attention to its adverse effect on health,” shared study lead author De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.

Initial analyses have disclosed that exposure to magnetic fields during pregnancy may lead to miscarriage. According to Dr. Li, EMF exposure is supposedly omnipresent and therefore any kind of extensive exposure may lead to major health issues affecting a large number of people.

The scientists couldn’t arrange a suitable control group as everyone tends to face EMF exposure at some point of time. Therefore a comparison was drawn between high and less exposure. The women participating in the trial were made to wear a tiny meter during pregnancy. This device calculated their routine exposure to low frequency magnetic fields from usual electrical appliances such as microwave-ovens, hair dryers, vacuum-cleaners, fans, coffee makers, fluorescent light bulbs, power lines and transformer stations. It was not inclusive of fields from wireless networks. The outcome showed a direct relationship between EMF exposure and asthma. A higher exposure presumably implied higher asthma risk for the child.

The study also unfolded 2 risk factors linked to asthma. They were namely maternal history of asthma and being the first child. Dr. Li concludes that distancing one from the source of EMF is an effective way to reduce exposure. He suggests that pregnant women should try to restrict their usage of these sources and maintain a distance from it.

The study is published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.