Objective: Children today are exposed to cell phones early in life, and may be at the greatest risk if exposure is harmful to health. We investigated associations between cell phone exposures and headaches in children.
Study design: The Danish National Birth Cohort enrolled pregnant women between 1996 and 2002. When their children reached age seven years, mothers completed a questionnaire regarding the child's health, behaviors, and exposures. We used multivariable adjusted models to relate prenatal only, postnatal only, or both prenatal and postnatal cell phone exposure to whether the child had migraines and headache-related symptoms.
Results: Our analyses included data from 52,680 children. Children with cell phone exposure had higher odds of migraines and headache-related symptoms than children with no exposure. The odds ratio for migraines was 1.30 (95% confidence interval: 1.01-1.68) and for headache-related symptoms was 1.32 (95% confidence interval: 1.23-1.40) for children with both prenatal and postnatal exposure.
Conclusions: In this study, cell phone exposures were associated with headaches in children, but the associations may not be causal given the potential for uncontrolled confounding and misclassification in observational studies such as this. However, given the widespread use of cell phones, if a causal effect exists it would have great public health impact.
Keywords: Cellular phone; child; electromagnetic frequency; environmental exposure; migraine; mobile phone; pain; radiofrequency.