The Pediatric Forum |

Exposure to Magnetic Fields During Pregnancy and Asthma in Offspring

Paul J. Villeneuve, PhD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(1):97. doi:10.1001/archpedi.166.1.97-a.
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Li et al1 reported associations between prenatal exposure to magnetic fields and childhood asthma. They measured exposure to magnetic fields in pregnant women using personal monitoring and then examined their associations with newly diagnosed asthma among offspring. Each 1-mG increase in maternal magnetic field levels was associated with a 15% increased risk of asthma.

While I agree with their assertion that the search for environmental factors of childhood asthma remains elusive, their article does not address the relevance of other environmental exposures. Air quality is widely recognized as a risk factor involved in the development and exacerbation of childhood asthma. Exposure to ambient air pollution during pregnancy has been associated with allergies, wheeze, and asthma in offspring.2,3 With respect to indoor air quality, house-dust mite allergens can produce new-onset cases of asthma; cat, cockroach, and house-dust mite allergens can exacerbate asthmatic episodes in sensitized individuals; and indoor concentrations of nitrogen dioxide can increase the severity of asthma.4

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