Divan HA, Kheifets L, Olsen J. Prenatal cell phone use and developmental milestone delays among infants. Scand J Work Environ Health. Mar 14, 2011. Ahead of print.
Use of cell phones has become nearly universal, and the potential adverse health effects are a subject of debate among scientists and the general public. In general, children are more susceptible to health hazards of environmental exposures. The World Health Organization emphasizes the need for increased research into possible health effects from cell phones for children and fetuses.
The objective of this study was to examine whether maternal cell phone use during pregnancy was associated with delays in the offspring’s motor, cognitive and language development at age 6 and 18 months.
The study was based on the Danish National Birth Cohort that collects information on various exposures during pregnancy and health outcomes by means of telephone interviews and internet- or paper-based questionnaires. The analysis included data on 41,541 singleton live births between 1997 and 2002. The lowest category of mobile phone use (no use, 0-1 times per day) was defined as a reference for computation of odd ratios (OR).
At 6 months, the OR for cognitive/language development delay adjusted for potential confounders was 0.9 with 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.7-1.0. The adjusted OR for motor development delay at 6 months was 0.9 (95% CI 0.8-1.1). At age 18 months, the adjusted OR was 1.1 (95% CI 0.9-1.3) for cognitive/language development delay and 0.9 (95% CI 0.8-1.0) for motor development delay.
Interpretation and Conclusion
The study provides no evidence for an association between cell phone use during pregnancy and motor or cognitive/language development delay in children at age 6 or 18 months.