By Olabisi Akinbode
Prof. Ganiyu Arinola, a Senior Lecturer of Immunology at the University of Ibadan, has said cell-phone radiation might likely cause male infertility.
Arinola, the Head of Department of Chemical Pathology, University College Hospital (UCH), told the interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that there had been a public attention on the issue.
The attention focused on safety radiations from laptops on laps and cell- phones on belts and in pockets, and on sperm damage.
“This growing body of concern calls for special focus considering the fact that infertility had been reported to affect certain percentages of couples of reproductive age.
“It is worthy of note that nearly half of these percentages have been linked to male infertility.
“It must be borne in mind that other factors, including exposure to certain environmental pollutants, lifestyle, occupation or infections of the urinary genital tract have been linked with infertility of the male.
“Cell -phone in pockets or in belts, is recently proposed to be the cause of infertility, especially in the males, “ he said.
Arinola said that there had been studies carried out using various methodologies linking cell- phones radiation to male infertility and different results were produced.
According to the immunologist, opinions differed as to the possible mechanism by which cell-phones radiation might produce these changes in the short time of putting cell -phones in the male pockets.
“Radiation from cell phones is said to affect sperm structure, mobility/movement, number, vitality or being alive for expected length of time and in time.
“But it is known that millions of sperm cells are released during mating and only one sperm is needed to fertilise the egg of the female.
“The likelihood is that all the sperms might not be damaged at the same time and in the short time of putting cell-phones in the pocket.
“This brings to where men place or keep cell-phones. Men put cell=phones I the pockets of shirts or suits, car saves, on belts or hands which are not in direct contact with testis sac.
“Thus human body, such as layers of skin, bone and tissue offer protection from direct radiation from cell-phone.
“More so, sperm releases by males are surrounded by fluids which provide a nutritive and protective medium for spermatozoa during their journey through the female reproductive tract.
“The normal environment of the vagina is acidic (from microflora producing lactic acid) viscous and patrolled by immune cells.
“All the same, reason of sperm damage was suggested to be the production of “toxic” or reactive oxygen species by radiation from cell-phones,” he said.
Arinola further explained that the reactive oxygen species are particularly harmful to living cells and proteinous substances which our body sperm cells and supporting materials are made-up of.
According to him, the production of oxygen species by cell-phone radiation raises the possibility, that cell-phone radiation as a result of careless placements and long term use could be contributing to sperm damage and therefore demand further investigation.
“Based on the proposed health risks from cell-phone radiation, it is advised that simple, precautionary safe-cell-phone-habits be practiced in order to protect health and fertility.
“Men, in particular should avoid carrying a cell-phone on the belt, in pockets of trousers when in use. This is a wake-up call to male cell-phone users who are trying to have children in the future.
“Therefore, users of cell-phones are advised to be cautious of duration of phone possession, frequency of daily use, length of use and where they are kept,” he said.