A new study finds that a cocktail of chemical pollutants measured in the human body is associated with lower semen quality.
Chemicals like bisphenol and dioxins are thought to interfere with hormones and impair sperm quality, and studies have found that combinations of these compounds are present at “surprising” levels, up to 100 times what is considered safe.
Scientists say bisphenol A (BPA) poses the highest risk. This chemical is found in milk and canned foods and is leached from the lining of packaging. Because a key step for sexual development in healthy men occurs during pregnancy, the findings are particularly relevant for pregnant women, the researchers said.
Scientists say sperm counts and concentrations have suffered a remarkable decline in Western countries for decades. Sperm counts have halved in the last 40 years. Other male sexual disorders, such as genital malformations, breast cancer, and undescended testicles, are on the rise. Hormone-disrupting chemicals are the prime suspects, and this study sheds new light on the potential harm potential of chemical cocktails.
The research team, led by Professor Andreas Kortenkamp of Brunel University London, said, “I was amazed at the size of the hazard index,” which measures the risk of a chemical. The team was also surprised that BPA was the chemical of greatest concern, as previous work had focused on phthalates used in plastics.
Kortenkamp told The Guardian that the study will enable better epidemiological studies in people to assess the impact. “But personally, from the evidence we have produced, I don’t see any reason to delay regulatory action.”
Research, Published in international environmental journalsassessed measurements of nine chemicals, including bisphenol, phthalate, and paracetamol, in urine samples from nearly 100 Danish men aged 18 to 30 years. We also used existing data, mostly from the European Food Standards Agency, to estimate people’s exposure to 20 different chemicals.
These data were compared with acceptable exposure levels derived from the scientific literature. It measures the potential effects of each chemical and then is added together using established methods to yield an overall risk measure for each man’s cocktail of chemicals.
All men were exposed to unsafe compound exposures, and those most exposed in the study had levels 100 times higher than acceptable values, with a mean of 17 times. “Our assessment shows a surprising excess of acceptable combined exposure,” the researchers concluded.
The researchers were also able to rank the chemicals with BPA as the biggest risk factor, followed by dioxins, paracetamol, and phthalates. However, removal of BPA did not reduce the combined exposure to acceptable levels.
Paracetamol has been shown to degrade sperm quality in laboratory animals and increase the risk of nasopharyngeal testes in boys born to mothers who use analgesics during pregnancy. in 2021 Reviews backed by 90 scientists “Pregnant women should be cautious during the early stages of pregnancy. [paracetamol] Consult your doctor or pharmacist if in doubt, unless use is medically indicated.”
The researchers acknowledged that there was uncertainty in the analysis. For example, the data used are for 2009-2010 and exposure to BPA has decreased slightly since then, but exposure to other bisphenols has increased. Young women may not be exposed to the same chemicals as younger men in the study.
However, the researchers said, “Given the number of chemicals to which humans are exposed, these restrictions almost certainly mean we underestimated the risk of mixing.” PFAS compounds, so-called “permanent chemicals,” may harm sperm, but were excluded from the study because of limited data. air Contamination can also affect semen quality.
“I am not saying that chemicals are the only factor,” says Kortenkamp. “Nutritional epidemiologists say that eating a lot of fatty foods, such as cheese, butter, cheap fats and fatty meats, is bad for semen quality.”
Professor Hagai Levine, Hebrew University Public School health, Israel said: We need to increase our global effort to study the causes of male reproductive disorders.”
Professor Richard Sharpe of the University of Edinburgh said, “Unlike the authors of the new study and many others in the scientific community, I am not convinced that exposure to weak endocrine-active environmental chemicals plays an important causal role in the fall of sperm count.” He said there was a lack of direct evidence that most of the chemicals evaluated by the study harmed human testicular development. However, there is good evidence for paracetamol.
Sharpe said the decline in sperm count must have an environmental cause and she’s confident that it will have the greatest impact early in pregnancy. However, he said, it’s difficult to distinguish which is responsible because high-fat processed foods are not only harmful on their own, but are also a major source of the chemical. Still, Sharpe says some chemical cocktails can negatively affect sperm counts in men.
Cocktail of Chemical Contaminants Associated with Sperm Degradation in Research | pollution
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