Men and Mobiles: Calls to Take Caution June 28, 2004

Mobile phones bring convenience and peace of mind, but the benefit of always being contactable may have a downside. New research shows men who regularly carry their mobiles near the groin, on a belt or in a pocket could potentially have their sperm count reduced by as much as 30 percent, ACA reports.

The study, conducted by Hungarian researchers, suggests male fertility could be affected by the radiation emitted by mobile phones. It also found the sperm that did survive exposure to radiation showed abnormal movements.

Dr Chris Merry, vice-president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), says men shouldn't panic; rather the findings serve as a warning to think carefully about what they do with their mobile phone.

"You want to be safe rather than sorry," says Dr Merry. "Who knows if this will have long-term implications for Australia's reproductive future? I think in the short term it's probably better to keep your mobile phone in your jacket pocket or somewhere away from your groin."

But Professor David de Krester, director of Andrology Australia, an organization specializing in male fertility, is questioning the validity of the research, which studied 221 men over 13 months.

While the jury is still out, Dr Merry advises all of us to employ some cautionary measures when carrying our mobile phones. These include:

  • Limiting the time you spend talking on your mobile phone;
  • Store your mobile phone away from your groin area;
  • Try storing your phone in your jacket pocket;
  • If driving, try keeping your phone on the car seat next to you.
  • Bear in mind mobiles still make regular transmission to maintain contact with radio towers even when they're not in use..

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