Hanging up?

. January 11, 2013.
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Hold the phone. A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggests a link between cell phone use during pregnancy and childhood behavior problems. But experts suggest it’s not time to panic. 

Data from a Danish study of over 28,000 children shows that children who were exposed to cell phones during and after pregnancy demonstrate a fifty percent greater risk of developing behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and inattention. But Dr. Alan Green, clinical professor of pediatrics at Stanford University, and author of “Raising Baby Green,” urges caution in interpreting the study results.

 “They did find a pretty tight correlation,” Greene says. But correlation is not causation. There may be other common factors in the lives of the surveyed mothers that are equally or more important. “They may use laptops more,” Greene says, “they may eat differently. Who knows? It doesn’t make me leap to the conclusion that [cell phone-caused] radiation is definitely a problem. It means we ought to learn more about it.” 

Many parents will still wish to err on the side of caution, of course, and Dr. Greene is supportive. He suggests keeping your cell phone away from your body if you’re concerned, and recommends the website ewp.org, where users can compare the radiation output of different makes of phone. “I’m not saying it’s impossible,” Greene says. “It’s about putting things in perspective.”