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A man looking at his cell phoneMen: if you carry your phone in your pants pocket, you may want to stop. According to new research, cellphone exposure may not only affect male fertility, but even sperm viability.

In the study, when men had no exposure to cellphones, 50 percent to 85 percent of their sperm had a normal ability to move towards an egg. However, this dropped to an average of 8 percent among men exposed to cellphones. Similar effects were seen for sperm viability, which refers to the proportion of sperm that were alive, according to the study published June 9 in the journal Environment International.

Previous studies have suggested radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellphones can harm male fertility.

“Given the enormous scale of mobile phone use around the world, the potential role of this environmental exposure needs to be clarified,” study leader Fiona Mathews, of the biosciences department at the University of Exeter in England, said in a university news release.

“This study strongly suggests that being exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation from carrying mobiles in trouser pockets negatively affects sperm quality. This could be particularly important for men already on the borderline of infertility, and further research is required to determine the full clinical implications for the general population,” she said.

While the study found an association between cellphone exposure and male infertility, the study was not designed to determine a cause-and-effect relationship.

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