Video display terminals do not appear to cause miscarriages in pregnant women working near them. A seven-year study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that 14.8 percent of pregnant women who worked at VDTs reported miscarriages. However, 15.9 percent of pregnant women in identical professions with similar lifestyles who did not work at VDTs also reported miscarriages. Both figures fall within the population-wide 11 percent to 20 percent miscarriage rate.
"I think the study is reassuring for women who are concerned about working with VDTs and the subsequent risk of miscarriages," report author Teresa M. Schnorr told the Los Angeles Times.
For about a decade, environmentalists have claimed that low-level electromagnetic radiation causes miscarriages, cancer, and a host of other health problems. They considered the cathode-ray tubes in VDTs, which generate the visuals on display screens, an important source of electromagnetic exposure for many women.
The NIOSH study was based on women's own reports of their miscarriages. As a result, it did not gauge the possible effect on miscarriages that occur in the first weeks of pregnancy before women learn that they are pregnant. But the study does support the findings of earlier, less-comprehensive studies that found no link between electromagnetic radiation and miscarriages.