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Radiation in WLAN a risk in pregnancy?
According to a recent study, the non-ionizing radiation in wireless networks increases the risk of miscarriages. So far, the risk may have been underestimated. According to the study authors, the potential health damage caused by non-ionizing magnetic fields should be investigated further.
The study of real exposure to non-ionizing magnetic fields from pregnant women revealed a significantly higher rate of miscarriages and new evidence of potential health risks, the study authors report. According to the researchers, the environmental dangers of WLAN use and other corresponding radiation fields must now be analyzed in more detail in further studies. The scientists have published the results of their research in the scientific reports.
Little research has been done on risks
Non-ionizing radiation can come from a number of sources including electrical devices, power lines and transformers, as well as wireless devices and wireless networks. In close proximity to these sources, humans are exposed to magnetic fields when they are in use, the scientists explain. While the health risks from ionizing radiation are relatively well known (including cancer and genetic damage), negligible health risks have been assumed so far for non-ionizing radiation.
Limit values for an acceptable exposure are not known
So far, only a few studies have been able to precisely measure exposure to non-ionizing radiation from the magnetic field, reports lead author Dr. De-Kun Li. Due to the current lack of research on this topic, it is not known where the biological limit is, but problems could develop. "And we still don't understand the possible mechanisms for increased risks," says Dr. Li.
Radiation exposure recorded over 24 hours
As part of the current study, pregnant women were asked to carry a small magnetic field monitor with them for one day. In addition, the subjects kept a diary of the activities on that day and were interviewed personally in order to better control possible confounding factors and to determine how typical their activities were on the day of the surveillance. At the same time, several variables were controlled that are known to be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage - including nausea and vomiting, previous miscarriages, alcohol consumption and caffeine consumption.
Higher risk of miscarriage
When comparing radiation exposure to miscarriage, the researchers found that miscarriage occurred in 10.4 percent of the women with the lowest measured exposure and in 24.2 percent of the women with higher measured exposure. "The rate of miscarriages in the general population is between 10 and 15 percent," adds Dr. Li. The study results provide evidence that non-ionizing magnetic field radiation can have negative biological effects on human health, the expert said.
The researchers now hope that the results of the current study will result in further much-needed studies on the potential threats to human health, including the health of pregnant women. Here the question arises, justifiably, to what extent the high WLAN density in cities can become a risk for the population. (fp)