Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Effect of low-frequency electric field screening on motility of human sperm. med./bio.

Published in: Ann Agric Environ Med 2020; 27 (3): 427-434

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The effects of exposure of human sperm to a 50 Hz electric field or magnetic field on sperm motility should be investigated. Moreover, the effects of field shielding should be investigated.

Background/further details

Sperm samples from 20 subjects were exposed to the following conditions: 1) exposure to a field with predominant electric field component, 2) exposure to a field with electric field and magnetic field components, 3) exposure to a field with electric field and magnetic field components and shielding with a dielectric shield, 4) exposure to a field with predominant magnetic field component, 5) control group. Each group was examined after 5 minutes, 10 minutes and 30 minutes of exposure. The dielectric shield used in group 3 mainly shielded the electric field component.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 5-30 minutes
Exposure 2: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 5-30 minutes
Exposure 3: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 5-30 minutes
Exposure 4: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 5-30 minutes

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Exposure duration 5-30 minutes
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Distance between measurement device and exposure object 9 mm
Setup four spiral coils (8 x 8 cm, respectively), constructed using a glass-epoxy laminate coated with copper (20 μm) which is used for printed circuits; the coils were placed directly behind the upper wall of the housing which was made of plastic and connected by electrical wires; the electrical wires were separated from the coils at a distance of about 5 cm; the distance between the coils was 15 cm; the electricity receiver was a 57 W halogen bulb placed in a lamp outside the casing of the device, at a distance of a few meters to minimize the influence of thermal radiation of the bulb on the samples; a black shade on the lamp prevented light exiting to the outside and its possible influence on the exposed samples; four sectors were separated on the device each for a different type of electromagnetic field; when the bulb was lit, between the bulb and zero (neutral) there was a predominance of magnetic field (group 4), between the lit bulb and the phase (live) there was an electric and magnetic field (groups 2 and 3) and when the antenna was connected only to the phase (live), there was a predominance of electric field (group 1)
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 1,887 V/m - measured - -
magnetic flux density 0.29 µT - measured - -

Exposure 2

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Exposure duration 5-30 minutes
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 1,640 V/m - measured - -
magnetic flux density 7.17 µT - measured - -

Exposure 3

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Exposure duration 5-30 minutes
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup the shield absorbing the electric field component consisted of four layers of dielectric material made of a nanocomposite in which the electric component of electromagnetic fields is absorbed by water dispersed in various ways in a dielectric matrix; the composite exhibits high dielectric absorption in the low frequency range and does not need grounding
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 196 V/m - measured - -
magnetic flux density 6.21 µT - measured - -

Exposure 4

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Exposure duration 5-30 minutes
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 329 V/m - measured - -
magnetic flux density 7.2 µT - measured - -

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

A significant decrease in velocity straight linear motility compared to the control group was found in group 2 (exposure to a field with electric field and magnetic field components) after 15 minutes and 30 minutes of exposure as well as in group 1 (predominant electric field component) and group 4 (predominant magnetic field component) after 30 minutes. Moreover, a significant increase in cross-beat frequency was observed in group 2 after 30 minutes compared to the control group. Using a dielelectric shield (group 3) prevented these effects. No differences were found in lateral head displacement or homogeneity of progressive motility velocity between the groups.
The authors conclude that exposure of human sperm to a 50 Hz electric field or magnetic field might decrease sperm motility and that a dielectric shield might protect against this effect.

Study character:

Study funded by

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