A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

Magnetic Fields Expisure During Pregnancy

“Association Between Maternal Exposure to Magnetic Field NIR During Pregnancy and Risk of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Offspring in a Longitudinal Birth Cohort,” JAMA Network Open, March 24, 2020.  See also: “Notice of Retraction and Replacement.”

March 24, 2020

“Consistent with the emerging literature, this study suggests that in utero exposure to high levels of MF non-onizing radiation was associated with an increased risk of ADHD, especially ADHD with immune-related comorbidity.” The most recent study by De-Kun Li of Kaiser Permanente. Note: “high” is defined as a 24-hour exposure of ≥1.5 mG (90th percentile). According to a 1998 survey, >40% of Americans are exposed to >1 mG. And the ICNIRP 2010 guidelines allow the general public to be exposed up to 2,000 mG.

February 23, 2021

De-Kun Li  issused a Retraction and Replacement for this paper on February 18, 2021. He wrote, in part:

“At the request of the editors, we have conducted new analyses based on continuous MF exposure levels as well as analyses based on categorical MF exposure levels, without using a cut point level. We have also conducted a dose-response analysis based on the categorical exposure levels with increased MF exposure levels being compared with the same reference group because a dose-response association is commonly examined in epidemiological studies.

“With these new analyses, we continue to find in utero exposures to some, but not all, high levels of MF nonionizing radiation were associated with a higher risk of ADHD. However, the associations observed were inconsistent and nonlinear, limiting interpretations. Thus, changes are needed to the original article, including the following:

“We removed the cut point–based results in the original Table 1 and replaced the data using mean (SD) based on continuous MF exposure levels. Tables 2 through 4, which previously reported findings based on dichotomous low and high MF exposure levels, have been replaced with findings from the analysis using continuous measure and categorical levels of MF exposure. We also replaced the eTable in Supplement 1 with similar analyses.

“We have added an eFigure in Supplement 2 showing the findings of the dose-response analysis between MF exposure in quintiles of mother-child dyads and the risk of ADHD. In addition, we have replaced the original dichotomized Kaplan-Meier survival curve with multicategorical Kaplan-Meier survival curves for multiple maternal exposure levels.

“Finally, we have added to the Discussion section the following limitations: ‘no corrections were made for multiple comparisons and for many of the significant associations observed among children with ADHD and concurrent immune-related comorbidities, the CIs were wide, indicating that these findings should be interpreted with caution.’”

Li told Retraction Watch:

“Basically, we replaced the original results, which were based on a dichotomized MF exposure categorization, with results based on continuous MF exposure levels, as well as results based on categorical MF exposure levels, without using a cut point level. As stated in the letter you referenced, after the new analyses, we continued to find that in-utero exposures to some, but not all, high levels of MF non-ionization were associated with a higher risk of ADHD. Compared with the results in Tables 2-4 of the original article to those in revised Tables 2-4 in the replacement article, the associations became stronger for some MF exposure categories as well.”

There has been a suggestion that this retraction and replacement might also affect Li’s work linking magnetic fields to miscarrriages.

When asked about this, Li told Microwave News:

“There has been no change to the MF-miscarriage paper, published in Scientific Reports in 2017. We stand by the results & conclusion. Also, as stated previously, the link between magnetic fields and miscarriage has been reported by at least seven studies.”

More on that 2017 paper and the other six studies, here.