Phone radiation and health

This is basically akin to FUD.

FUD? Sorry, I should quote sources. Let’s start with:

Lin, Yan-yun, Tao Wu, Jun-ye Liu, Peng Gao, Kang-chu Li, Qi-yan Guo, Hai-yang Lang, Meng Yuan, Li-hua Zeng, and Guo-zhen Guo. “Testosterone secretion in mouse Leydig cells decreasing induced by Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation.” In 2019 IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Biomedical Conference (IMBioC) , vol. 1, pp. 1-2. IEEE, 2019.


Radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is non-ionizing radiation with frequencies in the range from about 10 MHz to 300 GHz that directly influences on human health [1], [2] . The RF-EMR field produced by cellular phones is mainly at the frequencies of 850 to 2100 MHz. The studies of RF-EMR on testis function have mostly been performed in vivo level to evaluate gross effects on fertility or testis function, but have not given insight into the effects of this radiation in vitro level. Leydig cells are the interstitial testis cells with a crucial role for regulating spermatogenesis and male reproductive function, which could secrete 95% of the testosterone for the male.

That’s an IEEE peer reviewed Journal, so should have some creditibility.

Adah, A. S., D. I. Adah, K. T. Biobaku, and A. B. Adeyemi. “Effects of electromagnetic radiations on the male reproductive system.” Anatomy Journal of Africa 7, no. 1 (2018): 1152-1161.

Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emitting from the natural environment, as well as from the use of industrial and everyday appliances, constantly influences the body of the animal. It is expected that the interactions between electromagnetic radiation and the living organism would depend on the amount and parameters of the transmitted energy and type of tissue exposed. Electromagnetic waves exert an influence on the male reproductive system causing spermatozoa to have decreased motility, morphometric abnormalities, increased peroxidation due to oxidative stress, histological aberrations in the testes and in some cases atrophy of the testicular tissue. This review presents from literature some of effects of electromagnetic radiations on the male reproductive system.

You see, it might be FUD, but its not FUD I merely just made up. Where there’s smoke, there’s sometimes fire. I do think the general fear of EM radiation is too hyped, especially when it comes to cellphone towers and the like. But the dosage to the testes you get from a phone in your pants pocket is significantly higher than that you get from a cellphone tower next to your house, simply due to the 1/r² law.

I don’t think anyone has become impotent from carrying their phone in their pockets yet, but I still think there are better places to keep a phone than right next to where it counts, all the time. If not because of EM pulses then for the many other reasons (phones and their screens get broken in pants pockets all the time when people sit on them)


There was also this large test conducted in Switzerland by Nokia back in the days. Outcome: safe for humans.

Yeah, that. In mice

The WHO states that “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.”[3]

I skimmed through it, worst I read is with rats. Probably of that type who are prone to get cancer anyway :yawning_face:

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Most tests like this are done on mice.

Of course doing the tests on humans would yield much more valid results, but there are several problems.

  1. Human reproductive cycle is really slow. To see a long term effect over several generations, you’d have to conduct a controlled study over 20 years or more. Smartphones don’t exist that long yet, so results aren’t in yet and won’t be for some time. Especially not for the newer technologies such as 3G, 4G, 5G, …

  2. Getting a valid control group is tricky. Although humans populations still exist which have not yet been exposed to smartphones, these usually come from a different background than your typical first world smartphone nerd, and live in drastically different environments - often without access to healthcare or advanced medicine, differences in climate, food, and genetic distribution. This masks the effects behind potentially much stronger effects.

  3. There are certain ethical barriers to conducting thorough and exhaustive scientific studies on human subjects. Ignoring these often causes bad publicity and or political implications, which can negatively affect funding of future studies.

But studying on mice can of course totally misleading.

Anyway if you can find 100 males willing to carry their Fairphone in their undies next to their testes in their undies for the duration of one year, and 100 more from a control group which try to not let any phone closer than 100cm for the same duration, we could conduct a thorough study on sperm count, motility and viability before and after. Maybe there’s going to be significant results, maybe not.

Hey, if there’s a free Fairphone giveaway, maybe we even get enough volunteers :slight_smile: Do you think Fairphone would sponsor this test?

I’d sign up for free (I already have a Fairphone) … but only for the control group. :slight_smile:


Tests with animals are not fair and expose ethical questions too if we think about it.
Aside that I don’t have the impression that the reproduction rate of mankind is in danger :wink::smiley:
The opposite may be true. A phone slip could solve this and should be made mandatory :rofl:
It’s the last hope for the planet. Plus - certain emissions will get audible and gain more general awareness :crazy_face:


By Nokia.
It’s a bit ironic, ain’t it?

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There’s a big difference between these two.

The one conducted in Switzerland was sponsored by Nokia. Sponsored could lead to bias, yes, but not necessarily, and research is always somehow sponsored. IIRC it was from 2010 or so, and only about 2G/3G. It was a large scale, long term effect study.

Effects on rats, on the other hand, are not representative. They are inherently biased towards another species. Even more so, if they use the rat species which are prone to cancer anyway. The best conclusion to make from such (when it turns out the rats are negatively affected) is “more research is needed” but journalism headlines don’t mention that. So you get clickbait, and a mess of misinformation.

People read it, and get ill. Placebo effect at work. I read about this trick by telco’s the other day. They place a new transceiver with antennas. Then they get complains about people affected by them. Turns out they keep them off after they placed them, gather all the complaints from people being affected by them, and… can refute them, because they remained off for X months for exactly that purpose.

Then there’s

And “An’ it harm none, do what ye will”, or “better safe than sorry” and other elder “wisdom”. Before you know it, people copy it, and you have some kind of customary part of an -ism. The group is large enough to organize and voila, another cult formed.

Lin et al. cite some truly dubious observational studies of men in hospitals divided into groups according to their mobile phone usage, and then having their sperm count determined - and the researchers then just flat-out state that the first is the cause of the latter. The rest of the reference list is not encouraging, if only for the poor grammar of the various titles of cited studies.

Alarm bells are at this point ringing for Lin et al., who state, based on this first terrible study and one other of the same calibre, that “Radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is non-ionizing radiation with frequencies in the range from about 10 MHz to 300 GHz that directly influences on human health

Also keep in mind, and I think it’s been glossed over in this thread, that this is a study done in cell culture, not live animals. Meaning this is incredibly preliminary and what it tells us is that this particular cell type may somehow be affected by one type of radiation of a particular strength in this particular circumstance.

So they bombarded cell cultures for 24 hours with 3W/g of 1950Hz EMR. While they saw what can be described as a slowing down of cell cycles (for two of the three phases they studied - the third was unaffected), they saw no results in the amonts of controlled cell death, and only significant changes in testosterone production in the first two days, after which results became insignificant - and then the P-value provided by their tests is only given as P< 0.05, rather than an exact value or the P<0.01 they give elsewhere for their less sensational results. Alarm bells.

Again, not saying this study is pseudoscience, but their abstract certainly is and it cannot be used to support the idea that radiation from phones is dangerous to one’s in vivo human balls.

The second article cited is a literature study, which isn’t wrong or bad, but it’s inappropriate if you want to give evidence for your thesis. It’s better to read the studies cited by that article and use its arguments, not the summed-up and narrative-ised version used in this article.


Excellent review!

To be honest I just cited the 1st two studies that came up on google scholars (with a limit to recent stuff and discarding to obvious fake/crap studies). There’s a lot more, but I don’t really have the background in this particular field to judge how well executed they are or even do a metastudy on my own, so thanks for shedding some light on that.

I’m still not going to wear a smartphone right next to my balls though :wink:


If the conclusions of the studies don’t matter to you and you don’t know what they say, why cite them at all? Just say ‘regardless of what the facts say I feel uncomfortable wearing a phone near my genitals’ - that’s fine, you don’t have to. I like wearing trousers that are very slightly shorter than fashion demands; no science to support that either, and I’m not out here trying to convince people their trousers are dangerously long.

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Sorry, while it factually might be true, this absolutely doesn’t harm anyone.
If you believe something like this to be dangerous and therefore avoid it, who will suffer from it? And don’t compare it to vaccination.
Why not compare it to Glyphosate instead?

Seriously, this seems to be a kind of “religious war” for some people. Why not let others live their life the way they like it, why looking down on them, be it a cult or not.

When someone starts believing, that smartphones and cell phone towers were invented / errected by some obscure society for some sinister purpose, that would definitely be a totally different piece of cake.

But as it is, at least as I perceive it, this is all about someone omitting something he considers potentially dangerous. So what?

And while there might be no study, that can proof negative effects by EMR on human reproductive organs, there are at least enough studies, that show, that EMR does have an influence, even if it’s just producing heat.


Sorry, but that’s a bit over the top in my opinion. People, that get ill from reading such kind of articles are suffering from hypochondria or some other disorder. If it’s not this, they get ill from something else. Hardly enough reason to forbid publication of research done on rats or mice.

I never said such should be forbidden, but it shouldn’t be taken out of context, and by itself it isn’t a strong argument.

Placebo effect is real. If you tell someone something is toxic, they can get literally ill just from that. Just like if you tell someone something is healthy, they can feel better.

I don’t know enough about that subject, but I do know enough about vaccination. It works, and all the people who don’t follow it, are lowering our resistance as a human race, as well as freeloading on those who are vaccinated.

Because cults spread. You know religions? They were cults once. They assimilated other cults. That is how the great (great as in by % of world population) religions came to be. None of them is based on science, and nowadays we can easily disprove their claims (though even without that, the burden of proof lies at them).

It is the same here. The burden of proof lies with those who claim health is affected. Not by the fear of phone radiation. Not by the thought of phone radiation. By phone radiation, itself. Good luck citing studies which prove that. If there would be any credible ones, we wouldn’t be having 2G/3G/4G connectivity as it is.

To this statement, I will simply reply with “go watch some Derren Brown”, or read the book The Confidence Game. Which contains a rich number of examples by con-men, and how they work. The power of suggestion is real, and effective.

Sorry, you - in my opinion - totally miss my point.

Sure placebo effect exists.
But if this effect takes place just from reading that kind of article, this is not normal.
I know many people reading all kinds of crazy stuff, e.g. chemtrails, and still not getting ill from it.

But please explain, how this is dangerous, if it leads just to someone not wearing his smartphone in the trouserpocket. Your reasoning seems a bit alarmist to me.

That’s why I didn’t compare it to vaccination, as this is might be in deed directly effecting other people; wich evidently is not the case with not wearing the phone in the trousers.

Religion …
Well, everyone has - in a way - ones own god for worshipping.
For some it’s Allah, for others God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Science.
Who am I to judge.
More important than what one believes in is what one does and how one lives his life.
That’s just my stance of course and in no way neccessarily the right one.

I am out of this discussion now, as this is not my cult or religion; either way.

That’s definitely not how the world should work though (but it is).
I don’t know much about the subject of phone radiation (I believe microwaves can heat up water and that’s why your inner ear starts to hurt if you are on the phone for hours without switching ears), but in general there should be a lot more testing before anything is released to the masses.
Nowadays even medical products like hip-replacements have to go through virtually no testing if they can say that the product is somewhat similar to other products that are already on the market (also untested). And then if someone proves that they cause harm it often still takes years - and sometimes many deaths - until the product is stopped.

But it is human - unfortunately.

That doesn’t mean that just because you read one article, you get sick all of a sudden, but if you read it again and again, believe in it and have e.g. a radio tower near your house, you’ll suddenly start attributing some random unease to the radiation, then that will happen more often - contributing to your believe and once you believe hard enough that something is bad for you it will be.

Except science is the opposite of a religion.
Religion: You must follow this dogma.
Science: This is the theory we are working with currently, you must try to refute it.


Thx for all the things you so clearly stated, that I somehow felt, but could not put in words.

This might generally be true, but I would argue, that there are some people argueing with science in a religious way. They worship science above experience or feeling that “says” different.
E.g. when it comes to diversity. You can not scientifically measure the way someone feels, but you can analyse the DNA and examine the body.
If you deny someone the way this person is feeling because of what science tells you, this has - in my eyes - a religious stance.
That is of course just one example, that came to my mind.

There is a mass psychosis based on terrorism in the early '00s. People were super afraid of terrorism. They believed it was a severe threat.

The truth? Statistically, airplanes are much more safe than cars. Statistically, the world was less safe due to terrorism in the 70s and 80s than anywhere in this century. All cause of impact of 9/11.

These facts don’t take the fear away from people (so you get BS like security theater). We can be rational, but that doesn’t mean we always are.

Now, with Derren Brown, he uses all kind of techniques to manipulate people. Often, he uses the power of suggestion. Another way of manipulation is by example. Consider, a red light. If a lot of people ignore a red light, a child might as well, and they have less good awareness so chance is higher you end up with an accident.

If it is done by one person, for themselves, it won’t affect anyone. Realistically, that isn’t how a human society works. Humans have the unique ability to share stories with each other, fictional or not. We have an imagination, and it is strong. Very strong. Gossip spreads quickly. There’s a game where X amount of people sit in a circle. One starts with a word or sentence, and tells it to the person on the right (or left), until it has gone full circle and the person who started hears from the last person the word/sentence. It never comes out the exact same because we interpret in our own way.

This very thread’s first post is, in essence, a perfect example of how gossip spreads.

I don’t follow, could you be more specific?
If you can’t scientifically measure feelings, then you can’t deny how anyone is feeling based on science. So this is not “religious science”, it’s “not science”.

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Biology is science.
Biology (DNA etc.) says, you are either male, female or hermaphrodite (or have some kind of chromosomal anomaly).
Someone feels like a man, though science tells him, that he is a woman.
And if someone tells this woman, that she is a man, because science/biology says so, that is - just in my simple-minded opinion - making science a religious thing.

Still, tell me how it is harmful to society, mankind or whatever, if noone ever again wears the smartphone in a trouserpocket. Seriously!

And this is absolutely my last posting in this thread.
And I leave it shaking my head in disbelieve, to be honest.

Biology can determine sex, not gender. So if a biologist tries to tell you what your gender is they should lose their doctorate - because they clearly don’t understand science.

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I’m a biologist and I can tell you that that is absolutely wrong. ‘male’ and ‘female’ and other such terms (‘hermaphrodite’ is no longer used for humans for a variety of reasons, ‘intersex’ is preferred) are linguistic constructs that have nothing to do with DNA or genitals - we called people ‘men’ and ‘women’ thousands of years before we knew what heritability even was.

Science is descriptive, not prescriptive. It tells no one they’re a man or a woman - and what’s more, even if it did it wouldn’t matter because people are the gender they say they are, science be damned. Science gets no say in how people feel, and who they feel they are.

I’d say that any appeal to biology as the grand arbiter of who is male and who female is a more dogmatic way of looking at the world than just accepting people for who they are.