Low sperm count – The potential affect of mobile phone use
Cell phone use can create a low sperm count. There are many recent studies that confirm that the amount of time spent on a cell phone, and the proximity of the cell phone to the male reproductive organs is related to sperm health. Semen exposed to radiofrequency electromagnetic waves emitted from cell phones had higher levels of damaging free radicals, lower sperm motility (the ability of the sperm to move and swim) and sperm viability (the percentage of live sperm), and possibly greater oxidative stress.
Another recent study shows a link between poor sperm health and the number of hours a day that a man uses his mobile phone. Those who made calls on a mobile phone for more than four hours a day had the lowest sperm counts and the poorest quality sperm. (American Society for Reproductive Medicine). Men who used a mobile for more than four hours a day had a 25 per cent lower sperm count than men who never used a mobile.
High use and sperm quality
The men with highest usage also had greater problems with sperm quality, with the swimming ability of sperm – a crucial factor in conception – down by a third .They had a 50 per cent drop in the number of properly formed sperm, with just one-fifth looking normal under a microscope. The main finding was that on four measures of sperm potency -sperm count, motility, viability and morphology, or appearance – there were significant differences between the groups. The greater the use of mobile phones, the greater the reduction in each measure. This was very clear and very significant. Many in the lowest group for sperm count would be below normal as defined by the World Health Organisation. Motility measures the swimming ability of sperm, viability measures whether non-swimming sperm are still alive while morphology is the appearance compared to the norm.
Prof Agarwal said the most likely mechanism was damage to sperm-making cells in the testes caused by electromagnetic radiation or heat. He said: “These cells in the testes have been shown to be susceptible to electromagnetic waves in previous research in animals ” Somehow electromagnetic waves may be causing direct damage to these cells and that perhaps causes a decrease in sperm production and we later observe low sperm counts. “Mobiles may also increase temperature in the groin, if a man was wearing it on a belt or carrying it around in a pocket”.
Men who don’t want to compromise their fertility prospects can take some precautions such as choosing a model with the lowest SAR value (a measure of the radiation absorbed by biological tissue), and keep their cell phone out of their pants pocket. Reference : http://sarvalues.com/
Cell phone radiation
Exposure to cell phone radiation has also been associated with markers for sperm damage, such as higher levels of reactive oxygen species, oxidative stress, DNA damage and changes in sperm morphology. “We have enough evidence to issue precautionary health warnings,” said Dr. Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California at Berkeley. “The evidence for sperm damage is quite consistent across many studies,” he added.
Using a Bluetooth device or other headset may actually make things worse because you’re likely to keep your device on your belt or in your pocket while using the phone. This means that although the head is not exposed to radiation when the phone is in use, the sperm are being constantly exposed. According to the EWG report, several studies have found a low sperm count and poorer sperm quality in men who use Bluetooth devices or headsets compared to men who put their phones to their ears.
Minimising exposure to electromagnetic radiation
To reduce the potential damage to sperm health and fertility men would be best to ensure some of the following:
- Keep their cell phones in their pockets only if they keep them turned off, and turn the phone on periodically to check for messages.
- Remove their cell phone from their pockets when making a call using a Bluetooth or headset as most electromagnetic radiation is emitted from the phone when talking on the phone.
It is important for the reproductive and overall health of both men and women that we minimise our exposure to all forms of Electromagnetic Radiation. Radiation is drawn to the cells with the highest growth and division such as sperm and ova. It is only in this generation that we have been exposed to widespread cell phone use and over long periods. We therefore have little research on their effect on female fertility. However we need to be conscious of the way in which we all use them, particularly in view of increasing miscarriage rates.
Implementing the following guidelines would minimise our exposure to Electromagnetic Radiation:
- Increase your intake of super foods such as wheat grass, spirulina, reishi mushrooms and chlorella.
- Unplug all household appliances when not in use, especially when sleeping.
- Limit your time in front of computers and TV.
- Distance yourself as far away from the appliances in your home when they are in use.
- Remove cell phones and any other EM emitting devices from your bedroom. Do not keep cell phones under your pillow, a battery alarm clock could be utilised if a wake up device is needed.
- Switch off all your electrical devices at night.
- Stop using microwaves as they change the molecular structure of your food.
- Work at arm’s length in front of your computer and move away from the computer when you are performing other tasks.
- Do not carry a cell phone close to your body, including your trouser pocket, down your bra or in your shirt pocket. A handbag or briefcase would keep it further away from reproductive organs and the breast.
- Stay away from cell phone towers (base stations).
- Do not place laptops on your lap where reproductive organs are located. Many studies have observed the intense heat generated in this area after a small amount of time with a laptop directly on the lap. Work on a laptop at a table, or if you have to, place a cushion directly on your lap.
In my view we are beginning to see the results of studies which confirm that there is indeed a link between cell phone use and low sperm count. Male sperm health on all levels is declining and we are beginning to see male fertility also declining at unprecedented rates.
I believe cell phone use is a very significant contributing factor to this observation, however it is the cumulative effect of all our electromagnetic radiation which we need to become conscious of and take steps to minimise our exposure to.