Could power-frequency magnetic fields and wireless radiation from mobile phones and other communications equipment be risk factors for miscarriage? The answer is yes, according to new research published in the journal Open Medicine.
Iranian researchers conducted a review of 17 studies involving over 57,600 women, most of whom lived in the USA. They found that ‘the risk of abortion was increased by 1.27x for pregnant women exposed to ELF [power-frequency fields] and intermediate frequency [wireless] EMFs in the first trimester of pregnancy.’ 1
Miscarriages affect approximately one in four pregnant women in the US and are most-commonly caused by chromosomal abnormalities. In Australia, the incidence is approximately one in five. 2
The review found that exposures from common sources could be risk factors.
One of those sources is the ubiquitous mobile phone. ‘Cell phone RF [radiofrequency] waves may result in DNA damage in the fetus and microwave radiation may damage the placental barrier,’ the authors wrote. ‘Results of a study showed that there was an association between cell phone use by mothers and increased risk of miscarriage, congenital anomalies, and behavioral problems in children.’
The authors also found that magnetic fields from electrical equipment, such as powerlines, wiring and appliances, could increase the risk of miscarriage. They referred to one study which showed that women exposed to magnetic fields above 16 mG had an 80% greater-than-normal risk of miscarriage. However, they reported that miscarriage risk also increased at exposures as low as 2 to 2.5 mG. One study showed that using an electric blanket at conception increased the risk of miscarriage.
The authors concluded that the research to date, though limited, supports a precautionary approach. They say, ‘it may be prudent to advise women against this potentially important environmental hazard. Indeed, pregnant women should receive tailored counselling and stimulate more the much needed research.’
- Ghazanfarpour M, Kashani ZA, Pakzad R, Abdi F, Rahnemaei FA, Akbari PA, Roozbeh N. Effect of electromagnetic field on abortion: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Open Med (Wars). 2021 Nov 3;16(1):1628-1641. doi: 10.1515/med-2021-0384. PMID: 34761114; PMCID: PMC8569282.
- Royal Women’s Hospital
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