Children, due to their thinner skulls, smaller brains, softer brain tissue and far more rapidly dividing cells, are even more susceptible to damage from cell phone use than adults, which suggests that babies in the womb, who are perhaps the most vulnerable population of all, may be at similar or greater risk.
In 2008, researchers analyzed data from nearly 13,000 children and found that exposure to cell phones while in the womb, and also as children, was linked to more behavioral difficulties.i
Pregnant women using handsets just two or three times a day was enough to raise the risk of their babies developing hyperactivity and difficulties with conduct, emotions and relationships by the time they reached school age — and the risk became even greater if the children also used the phones themselves before age 7.
The 2008 study revealed that mothers who used mobile phones were in fact 54 percent more likely to have children with behavioral problems. When the children also later used the phones themselves, they were:
- 80 percent more likely to suffer from difficulties with behavior
- 25 percent more at risk from emotional problems
- 34 percent more likely to suffer from difficulties relating to their peers
- 35 percent more likely to be hyperactive
- 49 percent more prone to problems with conduct
In that study, children whose mothers used cell phones while pregnant were 40 percent more likely to have behavioral problems, and this rose to 50 percent when the children also used cell phones themselves. The researchers even accounted for family history of behavioral problems, inattention of the mother, breastfeeding and time spent with the child — and the association remained.