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'Mobile phones may lead to problem kids'

india Updated: Jun 20, 2008 18:30 IST

Pregnant mothers who use mobile phones are more likely to give birth to kids with behavioural and emotional problems, suggests a landmark research into the use of handsets that may have major public health implications.

In the study at the universities of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Aarhus, Denmark, researchers surveyed more than 13,000 children and found that using mobile phones even two or three times daily was sufficient to increase the risk of their babies developing hyperactivity and difficulties with conduct, emotions and relationships.

The health implications likelihood is even greater if the children themselves used the phones before the age of seven. The findings are in line with warnings against both pregnant women and children using mobile phones by the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, the official Russian radiation watchdog body, which holds that the peril they pose "is not much lower than the risk to children's health from tobacco or alcohol".

In the study, which is to be published in the July issue of the journal Epidemiology, scientists surveyed the mothers of 13,159 children born in Denmark in the late 1990s about their use of the phones during pregnancy, and their children's use of handsets and behaviour up to the age of seven.

The findings show that women who used mobile phones were 54 per cent more likely to have children with behavioural problems, and that the likelihood increased with the amount of potential exposure to the radiation, The Independent daily of Britain said. However, researchers warned that the results "should be interpreted with caution" and needs to be verified by further studies, the report said.