Radiation from cellphones could harm unborn babies, according to the findings of a study conducted by an panel of international scientists.
In a report published in the scientific journal Reviews on Environmental Health, the team of researchers advised pregnant women to limit their exposure to cellphones and "strongly" recommended that young children should be limited to wireless exposure. Even baby monitors and wireless internet are suggested to emit potentially dangerous radiation, the study found.
Other recommendations included that schools use wired connections as wireless connections cause "pervasive and prolonged electromagnetic exposures for children" and that one should keep an active cellphone away from the head and body at all times when it is switched on.
The chairman of the Electromagnetic Radiation Research Foundation in South Africa, Tracey-Lee Dorney, was quoted in The Times as saying that the reason for an unborn child being more vulnerable was attributable to the fact that a foetus is suspended in water, which attracts radiation.
The scientists of the study are calling for "biologically-based public exposure standards" that will protect the public.
A separate study conducted in Denmark found that pregnant women who used cellphones frequently during their pregnancy were more likely to have children with behavioural problems. The risk increased notably in those children who started using cellphones from a young age.
While electromagnetic radiation from devices such as cellphones, wireless routers and cordless phones may not have been considered dangerous initially, their inventors also did not anticipate just how popular such appliances would become, says Olle Johansson of Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology and one of the researchers on the team.
The fact that more than four billion people now make use of cellphones and other wireless communication devices means that our exposure to electromagnetic radiation has vastly increased.