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Epidemiology. 1995 May;6(3):263-70.

Exposure to electromagnetic fields during pregnancy with emphasis on electrically heated beds: association with birthweight and intrauterine growth retardation.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510-8055, USA.


Several animal and human studies indicate that fetal growth may be retarded following exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF). We conducted a prospective study (N = 2,967) to evaluate the relation of birthweight and fetal growth retardation with use of electrically heated beds (electric blankets and heated water beds) during pregnancy. A "nested" study design allowed monitoring of exposure at different stages of pregnancy using both direct and indirect methods. We assessed EMF exposure using personal monitors, home measurement, video display terminal use, and wire code. Exposure to EMF during pregnancy, either at conception, at < or = 16 weeks, or in the third trimester, showed no important relation to risk of low birth-weight or fetal growth retardation. This result was the same whether we used subjective measures of exposure or direct measurement. Use of video display terminals at home or work, exposure to > or = 2.0-milligauss fields as measured by home or personal monitors, and home wire code were unrelated to the reproductive outcomes studied. A time-weighted analysis of electric bed use, which accounted for strength of EMF exposure and hours of use, also showed evidence of no meaningful increase in risk. None of the exposure measures showed a dose response relation to risk. We conclude that risk of low birth-weight and intrauterine growth retardation is not increased after electrically heated bed use during pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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