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Jun 10, 2014 07:14 AM EDT

Cell Phone Exposure can Lead to Infertility in Men, Study

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(Photo : Reuters) Mobile technologies could help college students facing challenges with alcohol, according to a recent study.

Keeping mobile phones in trouser pockets can significantly affect fertility in men, lowering their chances of becoming a father, according to a University of Exeter study.


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Researchers said that 14 percent of couples in high and middle income countries find it difficult to conceive and they believe that mobile phones have a role to play. Previous studies showed that Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Radiation (RF-EMR) emitted by the devices can have a harmful effect on male fertility.

For the study, the researchers analysed findings from ten studies including 1,492 samples to determine the role of radiation in men. The sperm quality was measured in three ways: motility (the ability of sperm to move properly towards an egg), viability (the proportion of sperm that were alive) and concentration (the number of sperm per unit of semen).

The researchers found a strong link between RF-EMR exposure and lower sperm quality. About 50 to 85 percent of sperm exhibited normal movements (motility) in control groups, whereas the number dropped by an average of 8 percentage points in participants with cell phone exposure. Similar effects were observed for sperm viability.

Researchers said that since most of the global adult population own mobile phones, the potential role of the exposure needs to be studied and clarified.

"This study strongly suggests that being exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from carrying mobiles in trouser pockets negatively affects sperm quality. This could be particularly important for men already on the borderline of infertility, and further research is required to determine the full clinical implications for the general population," Dr Fiona Mathews of Biosciences said in a press release.

The findings are published in the journal Environment International.

In recent years, there has been intense speculation if cell phone exposure increases the risk of developing a brain tumour. A 2010 study found little or no risk of brain tumors among long-term users of cell phones.

"There are still questions on the effect of long-term exposure to radio frequency energy that are not fully answered by Interphone," Abiy Desta, network leader for science at FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health said in a statement. "However, this study provides information that will be of great value in assessing the safety of cell phone use."

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