Study flawed, VDT users say No link found between VDTs, miscarriages.

March 14, 1991|By Newsday

Women who use video display terminals during pregnancy do not run an increased risk of miscarriages, according to a long-awaited federal study.

The study should "put to rest concerns once and for all," said study director Teresa Schnoor, of the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. But advocates for VDT users expressed a mix of relief and skepticism, with many saying the study was flawed and too limited to support such a conclusion.

The study compared 882 pregnancies among women who worked during the 1980s at AT&T and Bell South in Atlanta. At Bell South, 307 directory assistance operators used VDTs all day, including during pregnancy, while at AT&T 430 general operators used a different type of electronic equipment with LEDs (light-emitting diodes) to project images on screens.

The study, appearing in today's New England Journal of Medicine, concluded that there was "no increase in the risk of spontaneous abortion associated with the occupational use of VDTs," or the electromagnetic fields they produce.

More than 7 million U.S. women of reproductive age use VDTs on the job, according to the safety institute. Advocates for those workers have charged that electromagnetic radiation emitted by the VDTs may have caused the clusters. The study was requested by those employees' unions.

David LeGrande, health and safety officer for the Communication Workers union, said his group "thinks that further investigation does need to be done, but we're very pleased with the results."

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