It never ends. In the era of junk science a constant stream of panic is delivered to anxious people expecting the worst.
Recently the target is the pregnant woman who uses cell phones. To the strident orders forbidding expectant mothers from smoking or drinking alcohol, no matter how moderately, add another: no cell phone usage or your baby will be a problem child. Research coming from the University of California, a reliable purveyor of baseless hysteria, links mobile phone usage by pregnant women with offspring suffering from "behavioral problems." These problems include hyperactivity, emotional difficulties, and inabilities to conduct themselves properly or form healthy relationships. Quite a passel of pathologies from an ubiquitous device used by nearly every expectant mother in North America, Europe, and Japan.
The risk factors do not approach any level of concern although the researchers and their handmaidens in the press still hype the paltry percentages as though they warrant corrective action. How did the researchers come up with these puny risk factors? That old reliable junk science method of analyzing questionnaires filled out by subjects who are charged with remembering trivial details that occurred over time, often in the distant past.
The researchers, as always, are surprised with their results and admit that they know of no biological mechanism that could cause the behavior problems of the children born to mothers who used cell phones. They did account for other possible causes, such as — you guessed it — smoking during pregnancy, glossing over that the "evidence" linking smoking with harm to the baby is as non-existent as is this "evidence" linking cell phone usage with behavioral problems. Feigned shock is a favorite tactic of grifters whose conclusions usually match the results they hope to obtain prior to beginning the study.
Of what use is this study, considering cell phones are now attached to most people who cannot imagine life without the devices? Most obvious is that studies such as this provide well-paying jobs to those who conduct them. The studies can, of course, help provide the foundation to shake down the manufacturers and service providers of cell phones. Such was done to big tobacco and will, in due time, be done to "big foods" and other politically incorrect industries. Of immediate usage, however, is the guilt derived from vague, inconclusive and overwrought studies that assign blame to people, in this case new mothers, for conditions that have nothing to do with their actions. Fearful and guilt-ridden people are easy to rule. Engendering panic and guilt is daily business for professional behavior engineers.