It is common knowledge that standing in front of microwaves does a number on our health. Little did we know the level it affects not only us, but our children. Research introduces a new data connecting asthma in children to mothers who received high levels of exposure from vacuums, hair dryers and microwave ovens during pregnancy.

The research, published online in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, is the first to link maternal magnetic energy exposure with asthma in children. Previous comprehensive reviews and studies have linked (MF) magnetic field exposure as possible carcinogen, causing childhood cancer, adult cancers, heart disease, miscarriage and Alzheimer.

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente compared magnetic field exposure of 801 pregnant women using electronic medical records to follow their children for 13 years to see which children developed asthma.

The study found that women with high exposure to MF during pregnancy had more than three times the risk of giving asthma to their children, compared to mothers with lower levels.

"The message here is exposure to electromagnetic fields is not good, and we need to pay attention to its adverse effect on health," said study lead author De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

"A higher maternal MF exposure during pregnancy led to a higher asthma risk in offspring," Dr. Li said.

"The best way to reduce your magnetic field exposure is distance. Magnetic field strength drops dramatically with increasing distance from the source," said Li. "So pregnant women should try to limit their exposure to known MF sources and keep distance from them when they are in use."

Magnetic fields are measured in microTeslas (µT) typically at a distance of 30 cm or 12 inches the magnetic fields surrounding most household appliances are more than 100 times lower than the given guideline limit of 100µT at 50Hz (83µT at 60Hz).

Published online in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine