Home
Epidemiological study

Neurodevelopment for the first three years following prenatal mobile phone use, radio frequency radiation and lead exposure.

Published in: Environ Res 2017; 156: 810-817

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A cohort study was conducted in Korea to investigate the association between prenatal mobile phone use as well as exposure to radio frequency fields and child neurodevelopment considering the modifying effect of prenatal lead exposure.

Further details

Maternal blood lead level was measured during pregnancy because recent studies showed adverse neurodevelopment outcomes in children with prenatal lead exposure.
Child neurodevelopment was assessed using the Korean version of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development at 6, 12, 24, and 36 months of age.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group 1 average number of calls per day: ≤ 2
Reference group 2 average number of calls per day: 3 - 5
Group 3 average number of calls per day: ≥ 6
Group 4 average calling time per day: < 3 min
Reference group 5 average calling time per day: 3 - < 10 min
Group 6 average calling time per day: 10 - < 30 min
Group 7 average calling time per day: ≥ 30 min
Reference group 8 non-heavy users: ≤ 6 calls per day or ≤ 30 min calling time per day
Group 9 heavy users: > 6 calls per day or > 30 min calling time per day

Population

  • Group:
    • women
    • children
    • children in utero
  • Age: 0–3 years
  • Characteristics: mothers and children of the Mothers and Children's Environmental Health (MOCEH) study
  • Observation period: 2006 - 2010, follow-up at 6, 12, 24, and 36 months of age
  • Study location: Korea

Study size

Total 1,751
Participants 1,198
Evaluable 1,198
Statistical analysis method:
  • logistic regression
  • linear regression
  • trajectory analysis, sensitivity analysis, Pearson's correlation analysis
( adjustment:
  • residential area
  • mother: year of enrollment, age, educational level, IQ, household income, employment, prenatal urinary cotinine level, head set use; child: sex, gestational age, birth order
)

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Psychomotor development and mental development at 6, 12, 24, and 36 months of age were not significantly associated with maternal mobile phone use during pregnancy. However, among children exposed to high maternal blood lead level in utero, there was a significantly increased risk of having a lower psychomotor development up to 36 months of age, in relation to an increasing average calling time. There was also a risk of having decreased mental development up to 36 months of age, in relation to an increasing average calling time or number of calls during pregnancy. The association between prenatal maternal mobile phone use and the risk of decreased mental development was modified significantly by prenatal maternal blood lead level. There was no significant association between child neurodevelopment and prenatal exposure to radio frequency fields measured by personal dosimeters in all subjects or in groups stratified by maternal blood lead level during pregnancy.
The authors concluded that there was no association found between prenatal exposure to radiofrequency fields and child neurodevelopment during the first three years of life; however, a potential combined effect of prenatal exposure to lead and mobile phone use was suggested.

Study funded by

  • Ministry of Environment (MOE), Korea
  • ICT R&D program of MSIP/IITP (Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning/Institute for Information & Communications Technology Promotion), Korea
  • National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER), Korea

Related articles