Adolescent in-school cellphone habits: a census of rules, survey of their effectiveness, and fertility implications:

Mary Redmayne (a), Euan Smith (a), Michael J Abramson (b),

(a) School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand (b) Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine, Monash University, The Alfred, Melbourne, VIC. 3004, Australia

Citation details

Redmayne M, Smith E, Abramson M. Adolescent in-school cellphone habits: A census of rules, survey of their effectiveness, and fertility implications. Reproductive Toxicology 2011;32:354-9. Doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2011.08.006

A majority of NZ adolescents carry a cellphone switched-on in a pocket > 6 hrs/day More than two in five regularly send texts from within a side pocket A fifth carry one >10 hrs/day and use it in-pocket Research suggests this may impair future fertility and/or reproductive integrity


We explored school cellphone rules and adolescent exposure to cellphone microwave emissions during school with a census and survey respectively. The data were used to assess health and policy implications through a review of papers assessing reproductive bio-effects after exposure to cellphone emissions, this being most relevant to students’ exposure.
All schools banned private use of cellphones in class. However, 43% of student participants admitted breaking this rule. A high-exposure group of risk-takers was identified for whom prohibited in-school use was positively associated with high texting rates, carrying the phone switched-on >10 hours/day, and in-pocket use.
The fertility literature is inconclusive, but increasingly points towards significant time- and dose- dependent deleterious effects from cellphone exposure on sperm. Genotoxic effects have been demonstrated from „non-thermal‟ exposures, but not consistently. There is sufficient evidence and expert opinion to warrant an enforced school policy removing cellphones from students during the day.

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