Scary Science: EMFs May Triple Miscarriage Risk

Scary Science: EMFs May Triple Miscarriage Risk

Valerie Burke

A substantial body of research now points to the health risks of EMFs for unborn babies, infants, children, and pets.

One recent study should give every pregnant woman pause because it shines a spotlight on a potential link between EMF exposure and increased risk for miscarriage (the medical term is “spontaneous abortion”).

A 2017 study conducted by Kaiser Permanente and funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found a disturbing association between EMF exposure and miscarriage. This study was quite unique in that it used an objective measuring device and assessed short-term outcomes (miscarriages), as opposed to events occurring years later, such as cancer or autoimmune disease. The study was fairly sizable, involving 913 women of childbearing age. The principal investigator was De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser’s research division. (Li et al, 2017)

Li gave the pregnant women meters to track the levels of EMF they were exposed to in a typical 24-hour period and kept a diary of their activities. Pregnancy outcomes were tracked. Researchers controlled for multiple variables known to influence the risk of miscarriage including nausea and vomiting, miscarriage history, alcohol and caffeine use, and maternal health issues such as fever and infections.

What the study found

  • Women with the lowest measured exposures to non-ionizing radiation on a typical day (representing 25 percent of the women) had a miscarriage rate of 10.4 percent
  • Women with higher exposures (75 percent of the women) had a miscarriage rate of 24.2 percent - a nearly three times higher relative risk!

To put these numbers in context, the miscarriage rate in the general population is between 10 and 15 percent, per Dr. Li.

In Li’s study, the specific sources of EMF radiation did not seem to be significant. What WAS significant was consistency of exposure. In other words, walking through a Wi-Fi café on your way to work is less risky than sitting with a laptop on your lap for most of the day.

Exposures are typically frequent and cumulative – everything from using office equipment such as copiers and fax machines, to ordinary home devices like hair dryers and vacuum cleaners, not to mention cell phones, computers, and Wi-Fi. Simply standing in front of a microwave oven while heating up a cup of coffee can expose you to 100 to 300 mG, noted Li.

His bottom line is that his study “provides evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionizing radiation may have adverse biological impacts on human health.”

Why do these unnatural EMFs pose such a threat to infants and children?

Multiple studies have found that the brains of young children absorb more radiation than those of adults. As head size decreases, the percentage of energy absorbed by the brain increases. Moreover, children's tissues have higher water and ion content compared to adult tissues, and both factors increase radiation absorption.

While children are more vulnerable than adults, the most at-risk age is before birth. During the prenatal stage of development, EMFs can more easily penetrate tissues and interfere with normal cell communication, which disrupts cell growth and division. This paves the way to health issues for children down the road.

Dr. Li’s findings are in line with prior studies

A 2013 investigation involving 116 women revealed that EMF levels tested significantly higher in the homes of women who miscarried than in the homes of women who successfully carried their babies to term. (Mahmoudabadi et al, 2013) And in 2016, a Chinese study (Cao et al, 2006) found that female mice exposed to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields produced 60 percent fewer offspring and experienced more miscarriages and fetal deformities - as well as the surviving offspring displaying more developmental abnormalities.

On a side note, women may already be more vulnerable to miscarriages than previously thought!

In a recent research paper, evolutionary geneticist William Richard Rice of UC Santa Barbara claims that his research indicates the majority of human pregnancies actually end in miscarriage – more than half! The reason is that many pregnancies self-terminate before a woman even knows she is pregnant. It’s estimated that 80 percent of all miscarriages occur in the first 12 weeks – but if Rice’s research is accurate, that number is likely much higher. (Starr, 2018)

With odds like this, we definitely don’t want to be further compromising our reproductive capacity. And even if a fetus survives the negative effects of EMFs and survives to birth, he or she may develop health problems down the road.

Wireless frequencies are linked with three times higher risk of a child developing asthma, as well as higher rates of hyperactivity, memory and behavioral issues, low thyroid, genetic abnormalities, and motor issues from changes in the cerebellum. Maternal EMF exposure during pregnancy has also been linked to increased risk of childhood leukemia. (Infante-Rivard and Deadman, 2003; Bioinitiative 2012)

Though the studies to date may not prove without a doubt that EMF radiation harms the health of both mother and child, the implications are frightening. The Li study and others should wake us up - and at the very least serve as motivation to do what we can to protect our unborn babies.

If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, striving to avoid as much EMF as possible is well advised – especially during the first trimester when a baby is most vulnerable. You can’t avoid all EMF, but there are things you can do to reduce your exposure. Remember, exposure is cumulative. You get little - or big - exposures from very ordinary things like alarm clocks, electric blankets, televisions and such.

Many of the remedies are really common sense

Take a step back from equipment when it’s operating - microwave ovens, copy machines, and the like. EMF levels fall quickly with distance. Limit your use of laptops, tablets and other mobile devices. If you’re preggers, please do not put those devices on your belly!

Realize that baby monitors emit EMF. Avoid the Wi-Fi variety, and keep the monitor as far away from your baby as possible. Turn it off when not in use.

Consider adding a little shungite to your environment.

Most importantly, don’t get super stressed about any of this! Stress itself is a risk factor for miscarriage. Simply do what you can and don’t worry about what’s beyond your control. Knowledge is power. Any adjustments you make to your lifestyle and environment will go a long way toward ensuring a healthy pregnancy and a healthy, happy baby!

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