If you’re a guy, you may want to think twice the next time you place your cell phone in your pocket.
New research has found a link between cellular devices and male infertility devices and male infertility, in which low-level electromagnetic radiation (EMR) that mobile devices emit lowered sperm motility. The belief is that the EMR disturbs normal cell functions and even sleep.
Researchers from England analyzed 10 previous studies, seven of which involved the study of sperm motility, concentration and viability in the lab, and three that included male patients at fertility clinics. Overall, among the 1,492 samples, exposure-to-cell-phone EMR lowered sperm motility by 8 percent, and viability by 9 percent.
Over the years there are have been several studies that shed light on how magnetic fields might have a negative effect on sperm. Experts say cell phones could be generating DNA damage by promoting more unstable oxygen compounds, or because most men carry their phones in their pants pockets, the fields, which can cause up to a 2.3°C temperature increase on the skin, could be raising the temperature of the testes enough to suppress and interfere with normal sperm production.
However, it remains unclear just how much cell phones are contributing to lower-quality sperm. Researchers note that how long the phones are kept in pockets, as well as how much EMR the phones emit are also important things to consider when figuring out an individual’s risk.
Still, lab-dish studies show that sperm are indeed affected by the exposure, providing enough reason to investigate the possibility that cell phones may be contributing to lower-quality sperm and potentially some cases of infertility. In other words, yet another reason to beware of the cell phone.
(Photo: Tim Robbins/Mint Images/Corbis)