Despite all the fears about cell phones and radiation, most of us still put our phones in our jean pockets. It’s easy, convenient, and any bad effects are impossible to see. But a new study warns there is conclusive evidence that men in particular need to find another storage spot.
A systemic review of 21 research papers on radiation shows phones placed close to a man’s genitals for a prolonged period of time steadily drive down sperm count. And among the studies, many suggest surviving sperm could be DMA-damaged. The biological phenomenon is currently under fierce debate since scientists have no way to explain how non-ionizing radiation influences the body.
Without that link, many public health investigators are hesitant to say definitively that cell phones harm sperm. However, a new review by a team at Australia’s University of Newcastle has collated years of evidence in an attempt to both emphasize the trend, and to identify potential causes. And since 14 per cent of the world struggle to conceive – with male infertility involved 40 per cent of the time – they warn a small detail such as where one stores their phone could be crucial. ‘While this subject remains a topic of active debate, this review has considered the growing body of evidence suggesting a possible role for RF-EMR [radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation] induced damage of the male germ line,’ the authors write. ‘In a majority of studies, this damage has been characterized by loss of sperm motility and viability as well as the induction of ROS generation and DNA damage.’ The authors reviewed 27 studies. Twenty-one of them showed a causal link between cell phone radiation and sperm damage. Ten studies were examined including 1,492 human sperm samples.
Exposure to mobile phones was found to be associated with a significant eight per cent reduction in sperm motility and nine per cent reduction in sperm viability. The effects on sperm concentration were more equivocal. The results were consistent across experimental laboratory studies and correlational observational studies. The data are hardly surprising, the authors say, given the ‘unique vulnerability of the highly specialized sperm cell’. But by continuing to store phones in pockets, the male population is ignoring ‘the future health burden that may be created if conception proceeds with defective, DNA-damaged spermatozoa’.
Dr Joel Moskowitz, of UC Berkeley’s public health school, explained to Daily Mail Online that this review is a pivotal step towards broader global understanding about the dangers of our phones. In 2011, the World Health Organization classified cell phone radiation as a possible 2B carcinogen. It was the first major recognition that cell phones could have a detrimental effect on our bodies. However, while studies have shown a correlation between sperm count depletion and cell phone radiation, there is a lack of research and concrete findings into the link between the two.
Regardless, Dr Moskowitz warned, the University of Newcastle review is clear evidence that ‘men should not store their cellphones near their genitals’. ‘In this line of research more intense cellphone radiation leads to more sperm damage,’ he added.