The recent publication of the National Toxicology Program results reignited the debate on risk of cancer associated with cell phones. There is also growing evidence pointing to a health concern specific to men – sperm damage. I previously summarized some of the findings on this topic in a blog article on sperm damage from cell phones back in 2013 – even then there was substantial evidence of sperm damage. The present article serves as a scientific update of new findings since that review.
Recent Studies on the Effect of Cell Phone Radiation on Human Sperm
A 2016 study by researchers from Poland found that lifestyle factors including stress and mobile phone use can cause human sperm DNA damages. Specifically, cell phone use for more than 10 years is found to be positively associated with percentage of immature sperms. Data from the study showed a significant effect of age, obesity, mobile phone radiation and occupational stress on sperm DNA damages.
A 2016 study by researchers from China found that the daily duration of talking on the cell phone was significantly associated with decreased semen parameters, including sperm concentration, semen volume and total sperm count. It concluded that certain aspects of cell phone use may negatively affect sperm quality in men, thus impairing male fertility.
A 2015 study by researchers from Egypt found that cell phone radiation exposure significantly decreased sperm motility, sperm linear velocity, sperm linearity index, and sperm acrosin activity, and significantly increased sperm DNA fragmentation, CLU gene expression and CLU protein levels in human semen samples. CLU gene expression is negatively associated with sperm quality and positively associated with male infertility.
A 2015 study by researchers from Israel found that talking for 1 hour or more a day and during device charging were associated with higher rates of abnormal semen concentration. Their findings suggested that certain aspects of cell phone usage may bear adverse effects on sperm concentration.
A 2015 study by researchers from China showed that mobile phone radiation reduces the progressive motility and viability of human sperm and increases sperm head defects and early apoptosis of sperm cells.
A 2014 study by researchers from Ukraine investigated the direct in vitro influence of mobile phone radiation on sperm quality in healthy men and found that mobile phone radiation exposure significantly increased DNA-fragmentation and decreased sperm motility.
A 2014 review study by researchers from UK and Brazil conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 10 pooled experimental and observational human studies involving 1492 samples on the effect of mobile phone radiation on sperm quality and concluded that mobile phone exposure negatively affects sperm quality in men.
Some studies found mixed results. For example, a 2015 study by researchers from Turkey found correlation between mobile phone usage period with sperm motility but not sperm counts and morphology. In the same study, they found a negative correlation between wireless internet usage duration and the total sperm count. A 2014 review study by researchers from China conducted a systemic review of 18 studies with 3947 men and 186 rats and found that most of the human studies and in vitro laboratory studies indicated negative effects on the various semen parameters studied. However, meta-analysis indicated that mobile phone use had detrimental effects on sperm motility and viability in vitro studies, harmful effects on sperm concentration and motility in animal studies but no adverse effects on semen parameters in human studies. A 2013 study by researchers from Italy found no significant change in sperm parameters in subjects who used mobile phone for less than 4 hours a day but a higher percentage of sperm DNA fragmentation in subjects who used mobile phone for 4 hours a day or more, especially for those who used the device in the pocket of the trousers (vs. the shirt).
Findings from recent studies continue to show adverse effects on human sperms from mobile phone exposure. The body of evidence implies that men should not carry their mobile phones in their pant pockets. However, if you choose to carry your phone in your pocket, a Pong Case can significantly reduce your RF exposure.