Insecticides can reduce a man’s ability to father children, warns a new study.
Researchers found a “strong association” between exposure to toxic chemicals and lower sperm counts in adult men.
Their systematic review of 25 studies over nearly 50 years, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, revealed “consistent and robust” evidence of associations between insecticide exposure and lower sperm concentration.
They say policies should be introduced to reduce the exposure of men planning to have children to insecticides.
Senior author Dr. Melissa Perry, Dean of the George Mason University College of Public Health in the United States, and a team of researchers – including Lauren Ellis, a doctoral student at Northeastern University, conducted the review.
Ellis said: “Understanding how insecticides affect sperm concentration in humans is critical given their ubiquity in the environment and documented reproductive hazards.
“Insecticides are a concern for public health and all men, who are exposed primarily through the consumption of contaminated food and water.”
The researchers reviewed nearly five decades of human evidence regarding the health impacts of exposure to two widely used insecticide classes, organophosphates and N-methyl carbamates.
They found “consistent” associations with lower sperm counts, which Dr Perry said warrants concern, particularly in light of observed downward trends in semen quality highlighted by other studies.
Dr. Perry said: “The key message is that insecticides are specifically formulated to kill things.
“Given the weight of evidence in front of us, there is plenty to advocate for reducing exposure to insecticides, especially among men who are intending to plan their family and father children.
“We were surprised to see such robust findings.
“This should be adequate evidence for policymakers to make some important decisions about how to reduce individual insecticide exposure and to recognize it as a public health issue.”
She added: “This review is the most comprehensive review to date, sizing up more than 25 years of research on male fertility and reproductive health.
“The evidence available has reached a point that we must take regulatory action to reduce insecticide exposure.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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