Lee HJ, Pack JK, Kim NK, Choi SY, Lee JS, Kim SH, Lee YS. The Lack of Histological Changes of CDMA Cellular Phone-Base Radio Frequency on Rat Testis. Bioelectro-magnetics. Online publication ahead of print. July 6, 2010.
Some studies have found that large doses of radiofrequency electromagnetic (RF-EMF) radiation are associated with damage to male reproductive organs. There is a belief that long-term exposure to cell phones reduces male fertility especially since cell phones usually reside in pockets that are in the same area as male testis.
The objective of this study was to determine the effects of RF-EMF exposure on male reproductivety. The health and number of rat sperm were investigated after radiofrequency exposure.
Two separate groups of 20 male rats each, 30 days old were used in this study. One group was exposed to 848.5 MHz RF, 90 minutes per day (two 45-minute periods with 15 minutes of non-exposure in between), 5 days per week for a period of 12 weeks. The specific absorption rate (SAR) on average was 2.0 W/kg. The other group of male rats were considered to be the sham or control group, and they underwent the same procedure but without any exposure to radiation. At the end of the exposure period the rats were sacrificed and reproductive health and fertility were investigated.
Sperm health was investigated at the cellular level and no differences were found between the sham and the exposed groups. Also, there was no significant difference in sperm count between the two groups.
Interpretation and Limitations
The authors speculate than many of the adverse effects seen related to sperm health has to do with a possible increase in temperature during the studies. An increase in temperature is known to affect sperm health. However, in this study, there was no change in temperature even though the SAR rate was high at 2 W/kg. Careful temperature monitoring is necessary in these types of studies so that any conditions caused by thermal effects can be ruled out.
This study suggests that long-term exposure to 848.5 MHz at a SAR of 2.0W/kg does not have any observable detrimental effects on male fertility.