Heavy cellphone use in the proximity of the scrotum can impair sperm, men learned last month. But one man's risk of fried gonads is another man's opportunity and the German startup Kronjuwelen has a solution: radiation-proof boxer shorts.
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Yes, kronjuwelen really does mean "crown jewels" in German. The company did not answer the question of color range: it seems the boxers are only available in beige or brown, with an orange waistband.
Theoretically, cellphone addicts could simply shield their junk with lead sheeting. But it would have to be custom-made, might make moving difficult and would cost a mint. Kronjuwelen's undershorts on Amazon cost a more reasonable 30 euros.
The garment consists of 58% polyester, 20% polyamide, and 22% silver (the deflecting agent) in a mix woven especially for the company, which manufactures in Albstadt, Germany.
The fabric's deflective quality was tested by laboratories, states Nick Piepenburg, co-founder of Kronjuwelen Underwear, and is, happily, machine-washable.
Nothing is perfect and neither are these boxers, but the company provides disclosure of the protection levels they confer on its website. The key radiation factor, it says, 13.56 MHz RFID frequency, is 98% blocked; certain other radiation types are over 90% blocked; Bluetooth and wifi radiation are 69% blocked and new-gen wifi is 60% blocked.
"We believe that we have made a significant step to provide all men with safer underwear," co-founder Berno Delius says in a company statement. He also adds that the shorts are comfortable, too.
The protection conferred by the special fabric was verified and confirmed by the Universität der Bundeswehr München University of German Armed Forces, the company says.
Headquartered in Dusseldorf, Kronjuwelen was founded in 2014 by Delius, Piepenburg, Daniel Herter and Peer-Boy Matthiesen. The prescient foursome actually began developing their underwear for the incautious millennial in 2014, well before proof had arrived that mobile phone radiation really does impair male fertility.
How serious is the danger from cellphones to procreation? The Israeli study – albeit carried out on a mere 80 men – found that talking on the cellphone for over an hour a day, or with the phone connected to the charger, nearly doubled the concentration of abnormal semen, from almost 36% of the men to almost 61%. Sperm concentration also dropped to abnormal levels in men who carried the phone within 50 cm from the groin.
In other words, more work is needed but the implications are frightening.
The four also provide an awesome statistic that bolsters their case for their boxers: "Last year, Germans spent 303 million minutes on mobile phones per day, equivalent of one person being on the phone for 576 years Today, in fact, there are more mobile devices in the world than people." (Because a lot of people have more than one phone.)
As of July 2012, over 90% of Israeli adults had cellular phones. Nearly two-thirds (62%) had smartphones, an increase of 33% from the year before, according to the Israeli Internet Association. A separate study by the Nokia mobile technology company found the obsession only increased with the advent of smart technology: Israelis check their phones for updates up to 150 times a day. National saturation of cellular technology in Israel is typically estimated at over 100% because so many people have more than one phone. Maybe they need multiple pairs of boxers too.