Electromagnetic fields could harm male fertility

Even everyday levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can reduce sperm quality, according to a study just published in the Journal of Reproductive Toxicology.

This is the first study to find this association, according to Dr De-Kun Li from Stanford University and the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute in California.

Li assessed sperm quality in a group of healthy sperm donors who wore magnetic field meters to measure their daily exposures. He found that men who were exposed to field above just 1.6 mG had double the rate of sperm abnormalities.

This level is typically found near most electric equipment and wiring and is just a fraction of the 1000 mG allowed by international exposure guidelines for the general public

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Li also found that the chances of having poor sperm quality rose with the amount of time men spent in fields above 1.6 mG.

Commenting on the results of his study, Li advised would-be parents to consider limiting their exposure to electromagnetic fields.

Reductions in sperm quality and motility have been found previously in men and animals exposed to mobile phone radiation.

This is not the first time that Li has found that electromagnetic fields may have negative reproductive outcomes. In 2002 he published a study in which he showed that women exposed to a maximum magnetic field of 16 mG had a higher risk of miscarriage. The risk was higher for women in the early stages of pregnancy and also for women with a history of fertility problems or miscarriages. 2

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1. Li, DK et al, Reprod Toxicol, Oct 13, 2009.

2. Li, DK et al, Epidemiology, 13(1):9-20, 2002.

from ‘EMR and Health’ Dec 2009, vol 5 no 4


About The Author – Lyn McLean is a consumer advocate, author and educator and has been monitoring and writing on the subject of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) for over 20 years. She is the director of EMR Australia.


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