Byline: Nic Fleming
IT'S the get-out clause workshy husbands have been praying for for years.
A study has found that household chores - including using a vacuum cleaner or microwave oven - could reduce a man's chances of having children. Researchers exposed male volunteers to electromagnetic fields - high doses of which are produced by all electrically charged objects, including refrigerators and vacuum cleaners - and found such exposure could double the risk of having poor-quality sperm.
Fertility expert Dr De-Kun Li said his work provides the first evidence of a link between electrical goods and declining male fertility.
Dr Li, of Stanford University, California, said: 'I would advise men and couples trying for a baby to reduce their exposure to electromagnetic fields as much as possible.
'I'm not saying you shouldn't use a microwave but it makes sense to turn it on, then move away and go back when it is done. Keep devices, especially those with electric motors, away from the body.' The study recruited 148 donors at a sperm bank in Shanghai. Tests showed that 76 had poor sperm mobility, shape or count, while 72 had goodquality sperm.
Those volunteers whose job involved working with high temperatures or being exposed to chemicals linked to sperm damage such as solvents and pesticides were excluded.
Participants were asked to wear meters which took readings of magnetic fields every four seconds for 24 hours on …