Cell Phone Radiation Can Harm Sperm Count
Men may want to reconsider how closely they store their mobile phone to their reproductive organs. A meta-analysis of ten past studies, led by researchers at University of Exeter, U.K., found a small but consistent drop in sperm quality if the men (or their, uh, samples) had been exposed to mobile phone radiation.
“The implications are likely to be greatest for subgroups of men with multiple exposures to different factors which act together to affect their sperm; and possibly for men who already have borderline fertility,” said researcher Fiona Mathews, Ph.D
Mathews analyzed ten studies that included 1,492 total samples and ranged from experimental lab studies with sperm samples to observational studies in humans. She found that in both types of studies, exposure to the radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones was associated with an average 8.1 percent decrease in sperm motility and an average 9.1 percent decrease in sperm viability.
Studies linking cell phone exposure to harmful effects on sperm have been done in the United States, Australia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Turkey and South Africa, using diverse methodologies. In some, scientists compared sperm counts and sperm health in men who wore cell phones on the hip with those who carried them elsewhere on the body or did not use cell phones at all.
Among the findings:
- Men who carried a phone in a hip pocket or on the belt had 11 percent fewer mobile sperm than men who kept a phone elsewhere on the body (Kilgallon 2005).
- Men who carried a cell phone on the belt and used it intensively during a five-day test period had a 19 percent drop in highly motile sperm from their previous levels (Davoudi 2002).
- Men who talked on the phone for more than an hour a day had 17 percent fewer highly motile sperm than men who talked less than 15 minutes a day (Fejes 2005).
Laboratory studies on the effects of cell phone radiation on rats, rabbits and other animals have found similar effects on reproductive health (Kesari 2011; Mailankot 2009).
All these studies found statistically significant correlations between cell phone radiation and sperm health, and many found that the adverse changes increased with the amount of radiation exposure. Opinions differ as to the possible mechanism by which cell phone radiation might produce these changes (Falzone 2010).