Exposure to magnetic fields and the risk of poor sperm quality

Division of Research, Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, 2000 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612, United States.
Reproductive Toxicology (Impact Factor: 3.23). 10/2009; 29(1):86-92. DOI: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2009.09.004
Source: PubMed


We conducted a population-based case-control study among healthy sperm donors to study exposure to magnetic fields (MFs) and poor sperm quality. All participants wore a meter to capture daily MF exposure. After controlling for confounders, compared to those with lower MF exposure, those whose 90th percentile MF level > or = 1.6mG had a two-fold increased risk of abnormal sperm motility and morphology (odds ratio (OR): 2.0, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0-3.9). Increasing duration of MF exposure above 1.6 mG further increased the risk (p=0.03 for trend test). Importantly, the association and dose-response relationship were strengthened when restricted to those whose measurement day reflected their typical day of the previous 3 months (a likely period of spermatogenesis). Age-adjusted Spearman Rank Order Correlations showed an inverse correlation between MF exposure and all semen parameters. Our study provides some evidence for the first time that MF exposure may have an adverse effect on sperm quality.

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    • "Studies have shown that EMFs could impact pregnancy outcomes and childhood diseases including asthma1516171819, Higher EMF has also been associated with diabetes in humans, and overweight and high glucose level in animals2021. A recent study published in JAMA showed an EMF effect on glucose metabolism, which provides a direct biological plausibility for a possible EMF effect on the risk of obesity2223. "
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    ABSTRACT: We conducted a prospective study to examine whether in-utero exposure to magnetic fields (MFs) increases the risk of childhood obesity. Participating women carried a meter measuring MF levels during pregnancy and 733 of their children were followed up to 13 years to collect clinically recorded information on growth patterns with 33 weight measurements per child on average. Prenatal exposure to high MF level was associated with increased risk of being obese in offspring than those with lower MF level (odds ratio = 1.69, 95% confidence interval: 1.01-2.84). The association demonstrated a dose-response relationship and was stronger (more than 2.3 fold increased risk) among children who were followed up to the end of the study. The association existed only for persistent obesity, but not for transitory (unlikely) obesity. Maternal exposure to high MF during pregnancy may be a new and previously unknown factor contributing to the world-wide epidemic of childhood obesity/overweight.
    Scientific Reports 07/2012; 2:540. DOI:10.1038/srep00540 · 5.58 Impact Factor
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    • "The exposure to EMF was performed in three daily applications of 30 min. According to the International Non‐ionizing Radiation Committee (INIRC), the limits for magnetic field density for occupational exposure are 0.5 mT for the entire workday, 5 mT for exposure of 2 h or less and 25 mT for exposure to limbs (Sliney and Patterson, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: The population exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) has been growing in recent decades. The generation, distribution and use of electric energy can generate low-frequency electromagnetic fields. The present study investigates the effects of EMF (60 Hz and 1 mT) on spermatogenesis of rats during different periods of maturation. Wistar rats were exposed to EMF from day 13 of gestation to postnatal day 21 or 90 in three daily applications of 30 min. Plasma testosterone concentration was not changed by EMF exposure; however, histopathological and histomorphometrical analyses of the testes showed testicular degeneration in a subset of animals exposed to EMF. The magnitude of the degenerative process varied between those individuals affected, indicating different individual sensitivity to EMF. The main alterations observed through transmission electron microscopy were highly electron-dense mitochondria with loss of their organization and cristae. Exposure to 60 Hz and 1 mT EMF can disturb spermatogenesis and may produce subfertility or infertility.
    Journal of Applied Toxicology 03/2012; 32(3):210-8. DOI:10.1002/jat.1680 · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    • "Research carried out to evaluate possible effects of electric and magnetic fields on biological systems is still controversial. Several studies have reported adverse effects caused by electric and magnetic fields in spermatogenesis and male fertility, such as cytotoxic effects on spermatogonia, increased incidence of apoptosis , deceleration of spermatogenesis, degeneration of germ cells, decreased testicular biopsy score, reduction in the count, motility and daily sperm production, reduction of the fertility in rats and adverse effect on sperm quality in humans (De Vita et al., 1995; Al-Akhras et al., 2001; Ramadan et al., 2002; Lee et al., 2004; Aydin et al., 2007; Kim et al., 2009; Li et al., 2010). Huuskonen et al. (2001) observed that 50 Hz and 130 mT magnetic fields did not impair implantation, but may be able to promote some changes in the transport and development of embryos and associated endocrinologic parameters. "
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    ABSTRACT: Society has been increasingly exposed to low-frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF), mainly from electricity distribution networks and electro-electronic devices. Aiming to clarify the extension of possible interactions between EMF and testicular development, this study evaluated the effects of exposure to 60 Hz and 1 mT EMF in the maturation of testicular components. Wistar rats were exposed to EMF three times per day for 30 min, between the 13th day of gestation and the 21st postnatal day. Results showed a decrease in the following parameters: tubular diameter and seminiferous tubules area; seminiferous epithelium height; total volume of seminiferous tubule; tubular lumen; seminiferous epithelium; and Leydig cells. On the other hand, an increase was observed in connective tissue cells and blood vessels volume. Plasma testosterone, Sertoli cells population, tubular length and gonadosomatic index did not change when exposed to EMF. Histomorphometric analysis showed that exposure to EMF can promote a delay in testicular development.
    Journal of Applied Toxicology 04/2011; 31(3):223-30. DOI:10.1002/jat.1584 · 2.98 Impact Factor
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