Yikes! Your Laptop WiFi May Be Harming Your Sperm

Wifi kills sperm

Bobby recently reviewed a laptop stand that claims to protect against the effects of WiFi, but we were skeptical since there was no way to prove or disapprove those claims. We’re still skeptical, and I have no plans to buy the stand, but chalk a recent MSNBC article (published 3 days after Bobby’s review) up to strange coincidence. According to the article, a study from Argentinian scientists found that the electromagnetic radiation generated during wireless communications caused harm to sperm in a laboratory study. But before you panic, read on for some of the details.

Here are some of the pertinent details of the study:

  • Semen samples from 29 health men were used;
  • The samples were placed under an internet-connected laptop, that was downloading wirelessly;
  • A separate test was done with a laptop that was powered on, but not wirelessly connected;
  • Four hours later, a quarter of the sperm under the internet-connected laptop weren’t swimming around, compared to 14% from a sample stored separately away from the computer;
  • 9% showed DNA damage, which was four times the amount of the comparison sample.

It is important to note that the test didn’t exactly replicate real-world conditions. Perhaps most importantly, the sperm were not in the human body during the test, so there is no way to know if the effects would be the same on a person. We also don’t know how many times the test was repeated, if at all. If it was only done once, one could wonder whether the results would be different on subsequent tests.

Is the possibility enough that you’ll think about how you use your laptop, if kids are in your future?

Wifi-enabled laptops may be nuking sperm – MSNBC [via ExtremeTech]

Evan Kline

Hello, I'm Evan. I write about tech from my perspective – that of the average 40-something tech geek. You can also find me on Twitter and at my real-life job as a lawyer.    MORE ABOUT ME.

4 Comments:

  1. I’d like to see the results replicated and corroborated. Wi-fi is low power microwave radiation and shouldn’t be able to damage DNA, especially since only ionizing radiation (e.g. ultraviolet) has been proven to do that. Killing sperm, OTOH, can be explained by the fact that sperm is sensitive to heat (which is why it’s usually contained in a sack of flesh and skin outside the main body) and microwave radiation can heat things better than plain white light.

    • Yeah, that was my first thought – that there may have been a heat differential. Especially if non-connected laptop went to sleep for a big part of the 4 hours (the story simply says that it was “on”, which is pretty vague). I’m not doubting the medical knowledge of the researchers – but what is their IT IQ?

      A better test would have been to test it against a laptop downloaded over a wired connection.

  2. We’re all over 40 anyways so I’m not too worried. ;)

  3. Pingback: AM Tech Roundup: Office Jerks, “Swimmer” Protection, and Scary Siri | BMS Fashion & Technology Blog

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