Month published: September 2013


The Hidden Dangers of Keeping Your Mobile Phone in Your Pocket

Mobile phone in your pocket jeans


The Hidden Dangers of Keeping Your Mobile Phone in Your Pocket

As I begin writing this blog post, I have no idea what the dangers of keeping your phone in your pocket – be it trouser or shirt – actually are. I have heard musings and muttering over the years that radiation from phones can cause cancer and a drop in your fertility rate, but I’ve never taken the time to properly research the claims. So this article is as much for me as it is for you, because, I, probably like you, am sitting here with my mobile phone in my trouser pocket – its usual dwelling place – and I’m going to find out if keeping it there is possibly impacting upon my health.

I’m going to investigate the claim that undoubtedly most concerns us men, and that is, of course, the dangers posed to male fertility. Punching a quick search into Google returns countless results: most seemingly for the theory that mobile phones can cause male fertility problems, but others are determined to disprove the notion, stating that evidence is manipulated or unsatisfactory to assert that a definitive correlation between the device and fertility problems actually exists, or at least, is as dangerous as some are claiming it to be.

Let’s look at an example. One study, carried out by the Cleveland Clinic, a Reproductive Research team in Ohio, claim to have discovered that mobile phones carried inside the trouser pocket can alter the chemistry of semen. Apparently, when in talk mode – i.e. using the phone to speak to someone with a Bluetooth device, but leaving the phone inside your pocket – phones appeared to elevate the levels of disease causing molecules in semen, or ‘free radicals’ as they’re scientifically termed, through radio frequency exposure. The team used a model to replicate the effects of EMF radiation on sperm from mobile phones when left in a trouser pocket in talk mode. They sperm were measured for changes post-experiment, and results showed that exposure had caused an increased in oxidative stress, and a decrease in sperm mobility. This, they say, can lead to an increase in the potential for contracting diseases, and a decrease in the function of sperm; in summary, sperm are evidently weakened by the radiation emitted from mobile phones. However, others counteract this argument by asserting that irradiating sperm in a dish will undoubtedly show changes and results, but the experiment is so far from what actually occurs in the real world, and that the claim and evidence are lacking in proof. Several other studies support the claims, but most declare that only with excessive use of the phone in talk mode is there any real danger. Experts appear divided, but generally, the advice seems to be, reduce your mobile phone usage, and avoid carrying mobile phones on your body, as this maximises the risk of potential exposure.

There is so much more investigation into this debate that can be carried out; but I’m conscious this is a blog, not a forum for academic essays, and thus I will keep it brief. However, as one newspaper article interestingly pointed out: there was a time when people were oblivious to the dangers of smoking and asbestos; substances that weren’t proved harmful for years after their first introduction and use. Could we be witnessing the beginning of a similar conclusion here? Well, as the UN reported that, at the end of 2011, there were about six billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, let’s dearly hope not.

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