We have all been warned by health experts of the radiating effects of mobile phones, but so many of us still put our phones in our trouser pockets. It’s an easy and convenient way to carry them, and since the effects aren’t immediately recognisable, it can be hard to teach yourself otherwise.
However, one new study is warning that there is now conclusive evidence that we, men in particular, should definitely not be doing this. The review of 21 papers showed that phones placed close to a man’s genitals for a prolonged period of time can eventually reduce sperm count, with surviving sperm risking DNA damage.
Scientists currently have no way to explain how non-ionizing radiation influences the body, so this debate is one that rages on. Without a direct causal link, public health bodies are reluctant to say definitively that mobile phones harm sperm.
But a recent review by Australia’s University of Newcastle has collated years of evidence in attempt to add legitimacy to this claim, and to look into potential causes. With 14% of the world still struggling to conceive, such research is vital to improve our chances.
“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 [radio frequency electromagnetic radiation] induced damage of the male germ line,” the authors of the study wrote.
“In a majority of studies, this damage has been characterised by loss of sperm motility and viability as well as the induction of ROS generation and DNA damage.”
As part of the review, the authors looked at 27 studies, and 21 showed a direct link between mobile phone radiation and sperm damage. What’s more, ten studies were examined, including almost 1500 human sperm samples.
Exposure to mobile phones was found to be linked with a significant 8% reduction in sperm motility and 9% reduction in sperm viability. The effects on sperm count were more ambiguous, but such findings were consistent across laboratory and observational studies.
Because of this, the authors warned that, by continuing to keep phones in our pockets, we are ignoring “the future health burden that may be created if conception proceeds with defective, DNA-damaged spermatozoa.”
Numerous health experts agree with this view, but largely, authorities refuse to release such a statement as the link is just too unclear. What do you think? Do mobile phones really damage sperm count, or would fertility rates be much worse by now if this was the case?