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Maternal cell phone and cordless phone use during pregnancy and behaviour problems in 5-year-old children
  1. Mònica Guxens1,
  2. Manon van Eijsden2,3,
  3. Roel Vermeulen1,4,
  4. Eva Loomans2,5,
  5. Tanja G M Vrijkotte6,
  6. Hans Komhout1,
  7. Rob T van Strien7,
  8. Anke Huss1,8
  1. 1Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology, Documentation and Health Promotion, Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Health Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  4. 4Julius Centre for Public Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  5. 5Department of Psychology, Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
  6. 6Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  7. 7Department of Environmental Health, Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  8. 8Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anke Huss, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Jenalaan 18d, Utrecht 3584 CK, The Netherlands; a.huss{at}uu.nl

Abstract

Background A previous study found an association between maternal cell phone use during pregnancy and maternal-reported child behaviour problems at age 7. Together with cell phones, cordless phones represent the main exposure source of radiofrequency-electromagnetic fields to the head. Therefore, we assessed the association between maternal cell phone and cordless phone use during pregnancy and teacher-reported and maternal-reported child behaviour problems at age 5.

Methods The study was embedded in the Amsterdam Born Children and their Development study, a population-based birth cohort study in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2003–2004). Teachers and mothers reported child behaviour problems using the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire at age 5. Maternal cell phone and cordless phone use during pregnancy was asked when children were 7 years old.

Results A total of 2618 children were included. As compared to non-users, those exposed to prenatal cell phone use showed an increased but non-significant association of having teacher-reported overall behaviour problems, although without dose-response relationship with the number of calls (OR=2.12 (95% CI 0.95 to 4.74) for <1 call/day, OR=1.58 (95% CI 0.69 to 3.60) for 1–4 calls/day and OR=2.04 (95% CI 0.86 to 4.80) for ≥5 calls/day). ORs for having teacher-reported overall behaviour problems across categories of cordless phone use were below 1 or close to unity. Associations of maternal cell phone and cordless phone use with maternal-reported overall behaviour problems remained non-significant. Non-significant associations were found for the specific behaviour problem subscales.

Conclusion Our results do not suggest that maternal cell phone or cordless phone use during pregnancy increases the odds of behaviour problems in their children.

  • Child Health
  • Radiation
  • Environmental Health
  • Mental Health

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