Pregnancy Radiation Health Risks
What is the impact of everyday radiation during pregnancy? Today, the evidence remains mixed. Radiation has long been cited as a health risk to young children and developing fetuses; but scientific experts still debate the nature and extent of that risk. Because the dangers caused by radiation can take years to show their effects in young children, the risks during pregnancy from radiation are difficult to pinpoint. They represent increased probabilities of health impacts developing over time – therefore studies must take place with large populations over extended periods of time. Funding for such studies has been limited.
Despite the limited funding for research into the health effects during pregnancy from radiation exposure, many credible assessments—including those conducted by the World Health Organization, the European Commission, FCC, and the Environmental Working Group— have found strong enough evidence of potential risks from radiation exposure to recommend precautionary measures. The recommended pre-cautions broadly include measures for avoiding and shielding exposure and have been addressed to the general population; but are especially relevant for young children and during pregnancy when radiation can effect development.
Potential Health Hazards
The past 25 years of research has evidenced several potential health hazards during pregnancy from radiation, including birth defects and genetic disruptions, miscarriages, autism, childhood leukemia, and cancer. Because scientists have shown that cell growth and DNA replication are disrupted by radiation, pregnancy and early childhood represent the highest risk for exposure.
A Growing Risk and Uncertainty
According to the World Health Organization, “Electromagnetic fields of all frequencies represent one of the most common and fastest growing environmental influences, about which anxiety and speculation are spreading.”
In today’s rapidly changing world, exposure to radiation is growing at accelerating rates. As the World Health Organization states, “All populations are now exposed to varying degrees of EMF (Electromagnetic Fields), and the levels will continue to increase as technology advances.” Given the increasing prevalence of these technologies – even small health risk could have a big impact. Especially during pregnancy, radiation poses a risk that we do not yet fully understand.
Because we cannot predict the future health effects of today’s unprecedented levels of radiation, it is impossible to assess the long-term impact on pregnancy of radiation exposure. Therefore, many women choose to take precautions during pregnancy against radiation to protect their children from these potentially serious health consequences.