Background: Nowadays, mothers are continuously exposed to different sources of electromagnetic fields before and even during pregnancy. It has recently been shown that exposure to mobile phone radiation during pregnancy may lead to adverse effects on the brain development in offspring and cause hyperactivity. Researchers have shown that behavioral problems in laboratory animals which have a similar appearance to ADHD are caused by intrauterine exposure to mobile phones.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the maternal exposure to different sources of electromagnetic fields affect on the rate and severity of speech problems in their offspring.
Methods: In this study, mothers of 35 healthy 3-5 year old children (control group) and 77 children and diagnosed with speech problems who had been referred to a speech treatment center in Shiraz, Iran were interviewed. These mothers were asked whether they had exposure to different sources of electromagnetic fields such as mobile phones, mobile base stations, Wi-Fi, cordless phones, laptops and power lines.
Results: We found a significant association between either the call time (P=0.002) or history of mobile phone use (months used) and speech problems in the offspring (P=0.003). However, other exposures had no effect on the occurrence of speech problems. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate a possible association between maternal exposure to electromagnetic field and speech problems in the offspring. Although a major limitation in our study is the relatively small sample size, this study indicates that the maternal exposure to common sources of electromagnetic fields such as mobile phones can affect the occurrence of speech problems in the offspring.
Keywords: Electromagnetic Fields; Maternal Exposure; Mobile Phones; Pregnancy; Speech Problem.