Chemicals threaten male fertility?
Research findings suggest that common chemicals threaten male fertility by affecting sperm quality. Chemicals commonly found in toothpaste, soaps and sunscreens could affect the sperm cells behavior, scientists warn.
For the first time a study presents evidence of a link between chemicals contained in household products and sperm abnormalities. Researchers report that the chemicals found in abundance in most of every day products may be partly responsible for the steadily increasing male fertility issues in the west world.
For the study German and Danish researchers examined approximately 100 chemicals of everyday use, revealing that about 1/3 of them affected sperm function. The study, as published in EMBO Journal and carried out with Timo Strünker of the Centre of Advanced European Studies and Research in Bonn, Germany, reported that some of those male fertility threatening chemicals are contained in sunscreens. Triclosan, a chemical with antimicrobial properties found is some soaps and toothpastes, is also included in the list of harmful chemicals in terms of male fertility.
In vitro experiments showed that chemicals at levels normally men are exposed to affect the sperm motility. Thus, chemicals do threaten male fertility. According to researchers these chemicals act by disrupting the endocrine system and for that reason are commonly referred as ‘’endocrine-disrupting’’ chemicals. They could be found anywhere: food, fabrics, medicine, household and personal care products, plastic bottles and even children’s toys.
The innovation of the study is that, thanks to a novel method developed, scientists were able to test hundreds of chemicals for their impact on sperm function in short time. Endocrine-disrupting factors seemed to affect sperm function by impacting their motility as well as their sensitivity to progesterone, prostaglandins and the enzyme released by them. These enzymes are necessary for sperm to penetrate the egg, so these chemicals impact the sperm’s fertilizing ability.
The European commission is currently examining the possibility of revising its policy concerning the Endocrine-disrupting chemicals as this study provided well documented evidence that may suggest changes to international rules and practices.