Cell phones have become a ubiquitous part of modern life, and regardless of how you view them, there is no denying that they have changed the way we communicate. In fact, it is not unthinkable that the conventional land line may one day be a thing of the past.

However, with the prevalence of cell phones come the health questions regarding excessive usage. In fact, there is a growing debate over whether even moderate cell phone use can affect us, not to mention the well-being of people around us.

Potential Health Consequences

While the jury is still out on the role that cell phones may play on our health, there is no denying that cell phones have some consequences to society in general, including the hazards of operating cell phones while driving and the general annoyance to people that are sometimes subjected to individuals who talk loudly and endlessly on their cell phones in public.

Now, however, researchers believe that their may be a link between excessive cell phone use and the behavior of their unborn child. According to the findings, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, pregnant women who regularly use their cell phones are more likely to see behavior problems as their children grow up, and the situation appears to be more pronounced if their children use cell phones themselves.

Study Design

Scientists arrived at this conclusion after studying more than 28,000 7-year-old children who were part of a national study in Europe. Nearly 100,000 pregnant women were enrolled over a seven-year period (1996-2002), with the initial goal of tracking their children's long term health.

Detailed information was gathered both during and after their pregnancy regarding their lifestyle, diet, and living environment. By the time their children reached the age of 7 years, the mothers were once again interviewed to find out about their kid's physical and emotional health, as well as to obtain information about cell phone usage for both mother and child.

Cell Phones and Behavior

What they found was that over one-third (35%) of the children were using cell phones, and 17% of them were exposed to cell phones before and after birth. After taking into account what were considered potential influencing factors, it was determined that when children were exposed to cell phone use before and after birth, they were 50% more likely to have behavior problems.

The findings support previous research that arrived at similar conclusions. The authors are quick to note that it is too early to deduce any causal relationships between cell phones and behavior, and more work needs to be done.

However, it may be instructive to give some thought to excessive cell phone usage, especially if you are pregnant. The reality is cell phones do emit radiofrequency (RF) energy, and while there is conflicting information about the health effects of RF, many experts encourage parents to reduce their children's exposure and limit their usage.

If you have questions or concerns, speak with your pediatrician. For more information about the health consequences of cell phones, visit the website for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Cancer Institute.

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