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Anti-radiation garment for pregnant mom. Is it effective? Is it necessary?

I am six months pregnant. Recently, I visited my friend in Shanghai. I saw her secretary wearing a suit which is supposed to protect her unborn foetus from irradiation. She told me that this type of garment is very popular in China and suggested that I should buy one before going back. I have my doubts. Is it necessary? Does it really protect the foetus from irradiation?

The radiation you referred to is probably the background radiation, which is present in our environment and around us all the time. The radiation comes from the soil and cosmic radiation from the sun and outer space as well as from our own inventions such as televisions and computers. It is usually of low energy.

According to the World Health Organization, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Communications Commission of USA, exposure to this radiation has not been shown to have any negative effects on human health. There is also no conclusive evidence that low levels of radiation from everyday devices is harmful to the unborn child.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US has advised consumers to avoid products that claim to “shield” users from this type of radiation.

It is interesting to note that a recent report (2018) conducted by a Chinese Academy of Sciences recommended laboratory found that the anti-radiation clothing, which has been popular with pregnant women in China actually increased radiation exposures by trapping them in the body like a greenhouse.

The researcher found that though the garments proved effective in blocking 90 per cent of electromagnetic waves coming from the front, they let in radiation from other parts of the body not covered by the clothing.