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03/11/2006 - Mobile Phone usage decreases fertility

Those who made calls on a mobile phone for more than four hours a day had the worst sperm counts and the poorest quality sperm, according to results released yest at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual meeting in New Orleans.

Doctors believe the damage could be caused by the electromagnetic radiation emitted by handsets or the heat they generate.

The findings suggest millions of men may encounter difficulties in fathering a child due to the widespread use of mobile phones and offers another possible explanation for plummeting fertility levels among British males.

Powerwatch CommentsIt is worth bearing in mind that whilst this is indeed interesting evidence, it doesn't specify which confounding factors have been taken into consideration. It is very possible that other lifestyle issues, especially amongst the highest usage group, could play a major part in sperm fertility. That said, these findings are very similar to the research done last month in Turkey by Erogul et al, where EMR from Cellphone Radiation was found to influence sperm motility, summarising "In addition to these acute adverse effects of EMR on sperm motility, long-term EMR exposure may lead to behavioral or structural changes of the male germ cell. These effects may be observed later in life, and they are to be investigated more seriously."

It would have been very useful to have recorded where the phone was kept by the users when not actively in use on a phone call, and where the phone was kept if using hands-free for some or most of the phone calls.

Links:

[View full story in the Daily Mail]
[View full abstract of the Turkish Study]

Also in the news

Tumour risk associated with use of cellular telephones or cordless desktop Telephones

Again, Lennart Hardell and his team have produced another study showing statistically significant increases in brain tumours from mobile phone usage, particularly for acoustic neuroma and malignant brain tumours.

Taken from the study abstract:

Results: Regarding acoustic neuroma analogue cellular phones yielded odds ratio (OR) = 2.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.0-4.3, digital cellular phones OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.1-2.1 and cordless phones OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.04-2.0. The corresponding results were for astrocytoma grade III-IV OR = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.3-2.3; OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.2-1.9 and OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.1-1.9, respectively. The ORs increased with latency period with highest estimates using > 10 years time period from first use of these phone types. Lower ORs were calculated for astrocytoma grade I-II. No association was found with salivary gland tumours, NHL or testicular cancer although an association with NHL of T-cell type could not be ruled out.

Conclusion: We found for all studied phone types an increased risk for brain tumours, mainly acoustic neuroma and malignant brain tumours. OR increased with latency period, especially for astrocytoma grade III-IV. No consistent pattern of an increased risk was found for salivary gland tumours, NHL, or testicular cancer.

[View full abstract on PubMed]
[View full text on World Journal of Surgical Oncology website]


Subjective symptoms, sleeping problems, and cognitive performance in subjects living near mob

Another study has found increases in symptoms typically associated with mobile phone base stations (headaches, loss of appetite, tiredness, problems with concentration etc), of which some were found to be statistically signifcant. For more info see table 4 in the full study (linked to at the bottom of this story).

Taken from the study abstract:

Results: Total HF-EMF and exposure related to mobile telecommunication were far below recommended levels (max. 4.1 mW/m2). Distance from antennae was 24-600 m in the rural area and 20-250 m in the urban area. Average power density was slightly higher in the rural area (0.05 mW/m2) than in the urban area (0.02 mW/m2). Despite the influence of confounding variables, including fear of adverse effects from exposure to HF-EMF from the base station, there was a significant relation of some symptoms to measured power density; this was highest for headaches. Perceptual speed increased, while accuracy decreased insignificantly with increasing exposure levels. There was no significant effect on sleep quality.

Conclusion: Despite very low exposure to HF-EMF, effects on wellbeing and performance cannot be ruled out, as shown by recently obtained experimental results; however, mechanisms of action at these low levels are unknown.

[View full abstract on PubMed]
[View full paper]


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