Select Page

Non Ionizing Radiation Exposure During Pregnancy Increases Miscarriage Rate

Dec 20, 2017


Non Ionizing Radiation Exposure During Pregnancy Increases Miscarriage Risk in Landmark Kaiser Study

In 2017, Dr. De Kun Li and his team at Kaiser made international news when they published their  second study linking miscarriage to real world non ionizing radiation electromagnetic exposures. Funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences with 913 women as subjects, Li , who specializes  in reproductive and prenatal epidemiology, found that women who were exposed to higher electromagnetic field levels had 2.72 times – an almost 3 times increased -risk of miscarriage.


“This study provides evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionizing radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health,” Li said in the Kaiser Permanente press release.  

Watch a clip from a Collaborative on Health and the Environment webinar with Dr. Li where he discusses his research.

The newly published paper has ricocheted around the world making international headlines.

Notably, his teams previous 2002 published study also found miscarriage  risk increasing with increasing magnetic field exposure. Li presented these replicated findings at a 2016 international conference on bioelectromagnetics. Microwave News published an article detailing how there were now at least 7 studies in the peer reviewed literature showing an association between EMF and miscarriage rates.  


In light of his research findings over the years, Li submitted testimony to the US Federal Communications Commission about the inadequacy of current RF exposure guidelines to protect the public.

“It has been demonstrated that communication between cells depends on EMF signals, likely in a very low level. External EMFs could conceivably interfere with normal cell communication, thus disrupting normal cell differentiation and proliferation. Such disturbance could lead to miscarriage, birth defects, and cancer.” – Dr. De-Kun Li

Dr. De Kun Li has repeatedly written about the problem with FCC regulations on radiofrequency radiation. In his 2013 expert testimony about radiofrequency and health he stated,  “Any such claim that RF-EMF is safe, is either ignorant or misleading.”

“Because of the nature of involuntary exposure, many susceptible populations including pregnant women, young children and those who are sensitive to RF EMF are being equally exposed. Susceptible populations usually have much lower thresholds of exposure level.”

Dr. De Kun Li Testimony

Kaiser Research Also Found Increased Obesity, Miscarriage and Thyroid Problems

A 2012 study conducted by scientists from Kaiser Permanente Research Division published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, found that children who were exposed to high levels of magnetic radiation while in their mother’s womb had a 69% higher risk of suffering from weight problems and obesity during childhood than children with lower in-utero exposures. This study was part of a series of studies also lead by Kaiser research scientist Dr. De-Kun Li. His research group has also published research which found that higher magnetic field exposure during pregnancy was associated with a higher risk of asthma.


In 2017, Li’s group presented his newest research at an international conference which found high magnetic fields during pregnancy were associated with increased risk of low thyroid hormone levels in offspring (low TSH levels) indicating “an adverse MF impact on the pituitary gland during in-utero fetal brain development.”


Press Release: New Kaiser Permanente Study Provides Evidence of Health Risks Linked to Electromagnetic Field Exposure

Li, De-Kun, et al., “Exposure to Magnetic Field Non-Ionizing Radiation and the Risk of Miscarriage: A Prospective Cohort Study”, Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 17541(2017)

Ronnie Cohen, Reuters News, Miscarriage rates triple for women with top radiation exposures

EMFs and Miscarriages: The Evidence Mounts At Least 7 Studies Now Show an Association

Kaiser’s De-Kun Li Answers His Critics, Microwave News, December 17, 2017

Pregnancy and Electromagnetic Fields

“Group Launches Campaign Warning Expecting Mothers About Wireless Radiation.” CBS New York, 2014.

Kaiser Permanente. “In-utero exposure to magnetic fields associated with increased risk of obesity in childhood.” ScienceDaily, 2012.

Malloy, Mary Esther. “Babysafe Mode: Getting Smarter about Smart Technology and Pregnancy. Midwifery Today, 2015.

Peart, Karen N. “Cell phone use in pregnancy may cause behavioral disorders in offspring. YaleNews, 2012.

Melnick, Meredith. “Study: Could Cell-Phone Use in Pregnancy Affect Kids’ Behavior?” TIME, 2010.


Kaiser Research on Pregnancy and EMFs To Know

Li, DK, et al. “A population-based prospective cohort study of personal exposure to magnetic fields during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage.” Epidemiology, vol. .13, no. 1, 2002, pp. 9-20.

This study asked pregnant women to wear a magnetic field measuring meter for 24-hours and correlated this data to pregnancy outcomes, showing an increased miscarriage risk with an increasing level of maximum magnetic field exposure with a threshold around 16 milligaus.  “Our findings provide strong prospective evidence that prenatal maximum magnetic field exposure above a certain level (possibly around 16 mG) may be associated with miscarriage risk.” These findings were replated in a later study presented at the 201 BEMS Conference.

Li, De-Kun, et al., “Exposure to Magnetic Field Non-Ionizing Radiation and the Risk of Miscarriage: A Prospective Cohort Study”, Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 17541 (2017)

“This prospective cohort study of 913 pregnant women examined the association between high MF exposure and miscarriage risk.

After controlling for multiple other factors, women who were exposed to higher MF levels had 2.72 times the risk of miscarriage (hazard ratio = 2.72, 95% CI: 1.42–5.19) than those with lower MF exposure. The increased risk of miscarriage associated with high MF was consistently observed regardless of the sources of high MF. The association was much stronger if MF was measured on a typical day of participants’ pregnancies. The finding also demonstrated that accurate measurement of MF exposure is vital for examining MF health effects. This study provides fresh evidence, directly from a human population, that MF non-ionizing radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health.”

Li, De-Kun, et al. “A Prospective Study of In-utero Exposure to Magnetic Fields and the Risk of Childhood Obesity.” Scientific Reports, vol. 2, no. 540, 2012.

This prospective study measured levels of magnetic fields during pregnancy and conducted subsequent follow-up records, resulting in a dose-response association between prenatal exposure to high MF level and increased risk of obesity in offspring in comparison to lower MF level exposure.


Li, De-Kun, Hong Chen and Roxana Odouli. “Maternal Exposure to Magnetic Fields During Pregnancy in Relation to the Risk of Asthma in Offspring.” Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, vol. 165, no. 10, 2011, pp. 945-50.

This epidemiological cohort study found a statistically significant linear dose-response relationship between increasing maternal exposure to high levels of magnetic fields during pregnancy and an increased risk of asthma in offspring.


Taktom, Sadeghi, et al. “Preterm birth among women living within 600 meters of high voltage overhead Power Lines: a case-control study.” Romanian Journal of Internal Medicine, 2017.

This case-control study examined the relationship between living near high voltage power lines and risk of preterm labor, finding a positive association between distance from power lines and risk of spontaneous preterm birth and birth defects in women.



Bahreyni, Toossi, et al. “Exposure to mobile phone (900-1800 MHz) during pregnancy: tissue oxidative stress after childbirth.” Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, 2017, pp. 1-6.

The present study has investigated the effects of mobile phone (900-1800 MHz)-induced electromagnetic radiation on redox status in the heart, liver, kidney, cerebellum, and hippocampus of dams and the offspring mice. Exposure to mobile phone (900-1800 MHz) during pregnancy induced oxidative stress in tissues of dams and their offspring.

Fatemeh Shamsi Mahmoudabadi et al., d “Use of mobile phone during pregnancy and the risk of spontaneous abortion”, J Environ Health Sci Eng. 2015; 13: 34.

In a case–control study, 292 women who had an unexplained spontaneous abortion at < 14 weeks gestation and 308 pregnant women > 14 weeks gestation were enrolled. Our result suggests that use of mobile phones can be related to the early spontaneous abortions.

Kim, Ju Hwan, et al. “Long-term exposure to 835 MHz RF-EMF induces hyperactivity, autophagy and demyelination in the cortical neurons of mice.” Scientific Reports, vol. 7, no. 41129, 2017.

The neuronal effects of  835 MHz RF-EMF on the cerebral cortex of the mouse brain at 4.0 W/kg for 5 hours/day for 12 weeks included induction of autophaygy genes, production of proteins, accumulation of autolysosome, demyelination in cortical neurons and hyperactivity-like behavior.

Othman, Haifa, et al. “Effects of prenatal exposure to WiFi signal (2.45 GHz) on postnatal development and behavior in rat: Influence of maternal restraint.” Behavioural Brain Research, vol. 36, 2017, pp. 291-302.

The potential combined influence of maternal restraint stress and 2.45 GHz WiFi signal exposure on postnatal development and behavior in the offspring of exposed rats were shown to provoke several behavioral and biochemical impairments at both juvenile and adult age of the offspring, as well as disrupt the progeny brain oxidative balance and serum biochemistry.

Othman, H., et al. “Postnatal development & behavior effects of in-utero exposure of rats to radiofrequency waves emitted from conventional WiFi devices.” Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology, vol. 52, 2017, pp. 239-47.

Effects of gestational exposure to 2.45 GHz WiFi signal for 2 h/day along gestation period on the offspring were studied. Maternal exposure to WiFi radiofrequencies led to various adverse neurological effects in the offspring by affecting neurodevelopment, cerebral stress equilibrium and cholinesterase activity.

Güler, G., et al. “Neurodegenerative changes and apoptosis induced by intrauterine and extrauterine exposure of radiofrequency radiation.” Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, vol. 75, pt. B, 2016, pp. 128-33.

1-month-old male and female rabbits exposed in utero and after birth to 1800 MHz mobile phone-like RFR was shown to increase apoptosis and oxidative DNA damage levels in both intrauterine and extrauterine periods in comparison to control animals.

Odaci, E., et al.“Maternal exposure to a continuous 900-MHz electromagnetic field provokes neuronal loss and pathological changes in cerebellum of 32-day-old female rat offspring.” Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, vol. 75, pt. B, 2016, pp. 105-10.

Following exposure to 900MHz EMF (1h/day during days 13-21) during the prenatal period, 32-day-old female rat pups showed significantly lower numbers of total Purkinje cells within the cerebellum compared to control and sham groups, indicating significant pathological effects that may persist after the postnatal period.

Sahin, D., et al. “The 2100MHz radiofrequency radiation of a 3G-mobile phone and the DNA oxidative damage in brain.” Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy, vol. 75, pt. B, 2016, pp. 94-8.

Rats exposed to 2100 MHz radiofrequency radiation emitted by a generator, simulating a 3G-mobile phone, were observed to have increased oxidative DNA damage in the brain after 10 days of exposure, but decreased damage following 40 days of exposure, which could indicate adaptive DNA repair mechanisms.

Deshmukh, P.S., et al. “Cognitive impairment and neurogenotoxic effects in rats exposed to low-intensity microwave radiation.” International Journal of Toxicology, vol. 34, no. 3, 2015, pp. 284-90.

In comparison to controls, rats exposed to chronic, low-intensity microwave exposure for 180 days at 3 different frequencies (900, 1800, and 2450 MHz) showed declined cognitive function, elevated HSP70 level, and DNA damage in the brain, indicating that this type of microwave radiation may have hazardous effects on the brain.

Hao, Y.-H., Zhao, L., & Peng, R.-Y. “Effects of microwave radiation on brain energy metabolism and related mechanisms.” Military Medical Research, vol. 2, no. 4, 2015.

This paper reviews the biological effects of microwave radiation, the features of brain energy supply and consumption and the effects of microwave radiation on mitochondrial energy metabolism and potential related mechanisms.

Roggeveen, S., et al. “EEG changes due to experimentally induced 3G mobile phone radiation.” PLoS One, vol. 10, no. 6, 2015.

Researchers found that the 15-minute placement of a 3G dialing mobile phone caused significant changes in the alpha, slowbeta, fastbeta, and gamma bands, while placement of the phone on the heart did not show significant results, supporting the notion that EEG alterations are associated with mobile phone usage and that the effect is dependent on site of placement.

Narayanan, S.N., et al. “Possible cause for altered spatial cognition of prepubescent rats exposed to chronic radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation.” Metabolic Brain Disease, vol. 30, no. 5, 2015, pp. 1193-206.

Researchers exposed 4-week old prepubescent male rats to chronic and repeated radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (900 MHz for 1 h/day, for 28 days), finding decreased progressive learning abilities, spatial memory deficits, poor spatial memory retention and structural changes in the hippocampus in the RF-EMF exposed group in comparison to control group.

Zarei, S., et al. “A Challenging Issue in the Etiology of Speech Problems: The Effect of Maternal Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields on Speech Problems in the Offspring.” Journal of Biomedical Physics and Engineering, vol. 5, no. 3, 2015, pp. 151-4.

Researchers found a significant association between maternal exposure ot different sources of electromagnetic fields either using call time (P=0.002) or history of mobile phone use (months used) and speech problems in the offspring (P=0.003), however, other exposures had no effect on the occurrence of speech problems.

Zehra, Topal, et al. “The effects of prenatal long-duration exposure to 900-MHz electromagnetic field on the 21-day-old newborn male rat liver.” Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences, vol. 45, 2015.

The study results show that a 900-MHz EMF applied in the prenatal period caused oxidative stress and pathological alterations in the liver in the postnatal period.

Júnior et al. “Behavior and memory evaluation of Wistar rats exposed to 1·8 GHz radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation.” Neurological Research, vol. 36, no. 9, 2014, pp. 800-3.

Following exposure to 1.8 GHz RF-EMR from a GSM cell phone for 3 days male rats showed increased stress behavior actions, but did not present anxiety patterns or working memory impairment.

Qiao, Simo, et al. “Reduction of Phosphorylated Synapsin I (Ser-553) Leads to Spatial Memory Impairment by Attenuating GABA Release after Microwave Exposure in Wistar Rats.” PLoS ONE, vol. 9, no. 4, 2014.

Researchers found that in rats, p-Syn I (ser-553) plays a key role in the impaired GABA release leading to induction of cognitive dysfunction and spatial memory deterioration following microwave exposure for 5 min at a mean power density of 30 mW/cm2.

Chen, Chunhai, et al. “Exposure to 1800 MHz radiofrequency radiation impairs neurite outgrowth of embryonic neural stem cells.” Scientific Reports, vol. 4, no. 5103, 2014.

Following embryonic neural stem cell exposure to 1800 MHz RF-EMF at specific absorption rate (SAR) values of 1, 2, or 4 W/kg for 1, 2, or 3 days, researchers did not find that eNSC apoptosis, proliferation, cell cycle, mRNA expressions of related genes, or ratio of eNSC differentiated neurons and astrocytes was altered due to RF-EMF exposure, however neurite outgrowth of eNSC differentiated neurons and protein expression for crucial proneural genes was inhibited after 4W/kg exposure for 3 days.

Razavinasab, M., K. Moazzami and M. Shabani M. “Maternal mobile phone exposure alters intrinsic electrophysiological properties of CA1 pyramidal neurons in rat offspring.” Toxicology and Industrial Health, vol. 30, no. 2, 2014, pp. 101-96.

Researchers found that rats prenatally exposed to 900 MHz pulsed-EMF from mobile phones for 6h/day during gestation expressed a significant decrease in action potential in response to current, decreased neuronal excitability within the hippocampus, altered learning acquisition and altered memory retention in comparison to control animals.


Saikhedkar, N., et al. “Effects of mobile phone radiation (900 MHz radiofrequency) on structure and functions of rat brain.” Neurological Research, vol. 2, no. 6, 2014, pp. 2499-504.

Rats exposed to 900 MHz RFR for 4h/day for 15 days showed significant changes in behavior, including more anxiety and poorer learning as well as increased production of reactive oxygen species due to exhaustion of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants and increased lipid peroxidation, which indicate extensive neurodegeneration in selective areas of CA1, CA3, DG, and the cerebral cortex.

Byun, Y-H, et al.  “Mobile Phone Use, Blood Lead Levels, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Symptoms in Children: A Longitudinal Study.” PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 3, 2013.

Researchers investigated the association between mobile phone use and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children, finding a significant association between mobile phone voice calls and ADHD symptoms in children exposed to relatively high lead exposure levels, suggesting that simultaneous exposure to lead and RF from mobile phone use is associated with increased ADHD symptom risk.

Deshmukh et al. Effect of low level microwave radiation exposure on cognitive function and oxidative stress in rats. Indian Journal of  Biochemistry and Biophysics, vol. 50, no. 2, 2013, pp. 114-9.

Results of 900 MHz MW radiation exposure for 30 days (2h/day, 5 days/week) on cognitive function and oxidative stress in blood in rats showed significant impairment in cognitive function and increases in oxidative stress, as evidenced by the increase in levels of MDA (a marker of lipid peroxidation), protein carbonyl (a marker of protein oxidation) and unaltered GSH content in blood.

Ozgur, E., et al. “Effects of prenatal and postnatal exposure to GSM-like radiofrequency on blood chemistry and oxidative stress in infant rabbits, an experimental study.” Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics, vol. 67, no. 2, 2013, pp. 743-51.

Investigated of the potential hazardous effects of prenatal and/or postnatal exposure to 1800 MHz GSM-like radiofrequency radiation (RFR) on the blood chemistry and lipid peroxidation levels of infant rabbits resulted in increased oxidative stress and changes in blood chemistry parameters within RFR-exposed animals in comparison to control animals.

Divan, H.A, et al. “Cell phone use and behavioural problems in young children.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, vol. 66, no. 6, 2012, pp. 524-9.

Researchers observed mothers and children from the Danish National Birth Cohort for prenatal and postnatal exposure to cell phone use, and found that the highest OR for behavioural problems were for children who had both prenatal and postnatal exposure to cell phones compared with children not exposed during either time period.

Aldad, T.S., et al. “Fetal Radiofrequency Radiation Exposure From 800-1900 MHz-Rated Cellular Telephones Affects Neurodevelopment and Behavior in Mice.” Scientific Reports, vol.  2, no. 312, 2012.

In a study examining the association between prenatal cell phone use and hyperactivity in children, researchers found that mice exposed in-utero were hyperactive and had impaired memory as determined using the object recognition, light/dark box and step-down assays and recordings of excitatory postsynaptic currents revealed that these behavioral changes were due to altered neuronal developmental programming.

Megha, K., et al. “Microwave radiation induced oxidative stress, cognitive impairment and inflammation in brain of Fischer rats.” Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 50, no. 12, 2012, pp. 889-96.

Exposure to 900 MHz or 1800 MHz microwave radiation for 30 days (2 h/day) produced significant impairment in cognitive function, induction of oxidative stress in brain tissues, and significantly increased the levels of cytokines in microwave exposed rats in comparison with sham exposed groups.

Jing, J., et al. “The influence of microwave radiation from cellular phone on fetal rat brain.” Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, vol. 31, no. 1, 2012, pp. 57-66.

This study found that in comparison with the control group, fetal rat brains which had been chronically exposed to cellular phones in utero showed significantly different levels of  superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, malondialdehyde, noradrenaline, and dopamine.

Sudan, M., et al. Prenatal and Postnatal Cell Phone Exposures and Headaches in Children. The Open Pediatric Medical Journal, vol. 6, 2012, pp. 46-52.

Researchers found a significant association between cell phone exposure and headaches in children, within which prenatal, postnatal or both types of exposure were related to an increased risk of migraines and headache-related symptoms compared to children with no exposure.

Bas, O., et al. “Chronic prenatal exposure to the 900 megahertz electromagnetic field induces pyramidal cell loss in the hippocampus of newborn rats.” Toxicology and Industrial Health, vol. 25, no. 6, 2009, pp. 377–84.

It was found that 900 MHz of electromagnetic field significantly reduced the total pyramidal cell number in the cornu ammonis of the electromagnetic field group (P < 0.001).

Bellieni, C.V., et al. “Electromagnetic fields produced by incubators influence heart rate variability in newborns.” Archives of Disease in Childhood-Fetal and Neonatal Edition, vol. 93, no. 4, 2008, pp.  F298-F301.

EMFs produced by incubators influence newborns’ HRV, showing an influence on their autonomous nervous system.

Divan, H.A., et al. “Prenatal and postnatal exposure to cell phone use and behavioral problems in children.” Epidemiology, vol. 19, no. 4, 2008, pp. 523-9.

Exposure to cell phones prenatally-and, to a lesser degree, postnatally-was associated with behavioral difficulties such as emotional and hyperactivity problems around the age of school entry.

Rezk, Ahmed Y., et al. “Fetal and neonatal responses following maternal exposure to mobile phones.” Saudi Medical Journal, vol. 29, no. 2, 2008, pp. 218-23.

A statistical significant increase in fetal and neonatal HR, and statistical significant decrease in stroke volume and COP before and after use of mobile phone were noted. All these changes are attenuated with increase in gestational age.