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ScienceDaily (Aug. 1, 2011) — Children whose mothers had high exposure to magnetic fields (MF) during pregnancy appear to have an increased risk of developing asthma, according to a report published Online First by Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
During the 13 years of follow-up, 130 children (20.8 percent of the study participants) developed asthma, with most cases diagnosed by 5 years of age. Researchers observed a statistically significant linear dose-response relationship between increasing maternal median daily MF exposure level during pregnancy and an increased risk of asthma in children. Every one-milligauss increase in a pregnant woman's median MF exposure was associated with a 15 percent increase in the risk of the child developing asthma. The association was especially strong for firstborn children and those whose mothers had a history of asthma, two known risk factors for the condition.
"In conclusion, the findings of the present study open up a new area in understanding the risk factors for asthma and the health effects of ubiquitous MF exposure, especially during pregnancy," the authors state.