A recent article by the British news source, Mail Online, titled “Sorry darling, I can't do the vacuuming. It might damage my sperm count: The best excuse yet for men not to do the housework...” has generated media attention.  The premise is that household chores such as using a vacuum cleaner, microwave or refrigerator could reduce a man’s chances of having children.  The article explains that the high dose of electromagnetic fields produced by these household machines can drastically reduce the quality of sperm.  As implied by its title, author Nic Fleming concludes that we should think seriously about reducing men’s exposure to household chores involving electrical appliances.

The ‘facts’ of the story are a wildly embellished extrapolation from the research of Dr. De-Kun Li at Stanford University.  Dr. Li’s article, which will be published in January in Reproductive Toxicology provides evidence that exposure to high levels of magnetic fields is linked to a two-fold increase in the risk of poor sperm quality.  Sperm quality, for the purposes of Dr. Li's study, is defined by motility, morphology and concentration.  The study was performed on 148 men, 76 with low sperm quality and 72 with normal sperm (controls).  Study subjects wore electromagnetic field meters for a period of 24 hours to measure their exposure to magnetic fields with frequencies between 40-1000Hz.  The article does not mention specific machinery or household appliances and does not caution men against performing household tasks.  The authors do, however, reference other articles linking cell phone use to poor sperm quality.

So what about women?  If electromagnetic fields are capable of damaging male gametes, why wouldn’t they be damaging to female gametes?  In fact, a 2001 study published in Bioelectromagnetics indicated that low frequency magnetic fields have adverse effects on fertility in both male and female rats.  While other studies in both humans and other mammals have yielded inconclusive or conflicting results – it is important that we consider effects on fertility in both sexes.  If electromagnetic fields are in fact detrimental to our fertility, the implications for women are far greater than for men as men constantly replenish their sperm supply every 3 months.  Because women don’t create new gametes throughout their lifetime, any damage to female fertility presents a more permanent problem.  Perhaps it is women who should be exchanging the vacuum cleaner for a foot massage…

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I have been in the cell phone industry since 1990.. yes back in the day when it cost 9.99 a minute to chat. I still somehow stayed in the industry (<a href="http://www.4-cell-phones.com" rel="nofollow">4-cell-phones.com</a>) as an internet affiliate of cell phones. Over the yrs, OBVIOUSLY ive been using more than one phone at times and IF I BOTHERED WITH EVERY STUDY and every report- yesterday, today and tomorrow.... WOW, I think the stress of worrying about those studies would"ve killed me first.. ha ha! So there ya have it my 2 cents. Wish u all the best and God bless

Many people may think it is a joke... But how much damage has already been done ? And what is the extent of that damage ? Just like other things mankind has brought upon itself... Partly through a lack of knowledge, and partly through ignorance. More than 15 years ago (that I know of) there was already concerns about the effect of cell phones.... Yet everybody chose to ignore it, and carry on. We won't even get into ignorance about global warming, animals going extinct, smoking in the company of children... I could go on all day. Mankind has a history of "ignorance is bliss". So how may years will this be ignored before we reap the (diminished) fruits ? Scary..really scary. Just my 0.02c pj

I just book marked this page to show my wife that I am not a lazy jerk, I am just thinking of the kids again. I am such a thoughtful person :)

This is a lame excuse. I've been doing house chores since I got married and now I have 2 kids.

I am a guy and I run my own business which means working 7 days a week and I do all the cooking at home even though my partner is a good cook. I find it relaxes me.

I did not know this. Thank you for the information. It is really informative.

Good for a laugh. Who operates a vacuum cleaner or microwave at crotch level? I've heard of problems from men working in professional kitchens 8 or more hours a day having trouble with low sperm count but it's due to the constant heat of the ovens (which open at just-below-waist-level).

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