A pregnant woman’s exposure to microwaves, power lines, hair dryers, and other devices with electromagnetic fields may increase her child’s risk of asthma, a study suggests. Scientists checked pregnant women’s levels of exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields and compared the data to the frequency of asthma in their kids. The researchers found that the kids of the most-exposed moms were more than three times as likely to have asthma than kids whose moms were least exposed, Time reports.
“That’s a striking figure,” an expert at Brown University uninvolved in the study tells WebMD. “That magnitude of association we don’t see very often. If it was correct, and that’s a big ‘if,’ that would be really startling.” It's way too early to give up using the microwave yet, though, he added. Asthma has recently surged in children, pointing to an environmental cause; that prompted researchers to investigate electromagnetic fields. “EMF is really increasing partially because electricity use is increasing, through electronic devices and wireless networks,” says the lead researcher. (Read more asthma stories.)