Study finds “strong link” between high levels of fine particulate matter and abnormal sperm shape. High levels of air pollution are associated with poor sperm quality that may cause infertility among men.
A group of scientists, supervised by researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, studied the sperm of nearly 6,500 men and found a “strong relationship” between high levels of fine particulate air pollution and “abnormal sperm shape.”
“Sperm morphology is highly variable, both between men and within the ejaculate of an individual man … So changes of the order of magnitude reported here in association with exposure to fine particulate matter are unlikely to be of any great relevance to likely fertility, as the authors admit.”
The study included men from 15 to 49 years old in Taiwan between 2001 and 2014. It shows that the sperm quality can be measured by the level of fine particulate pollution, which is caused by cars, wood burning, and dust from construction.
The scientists found a strong association between PM2.5 exposure and abnormal sperm shape. In fact, it was associated with a heightened risk of being in the bottom 10% of normal sperm size and shape, after taking account of potential factors, such as smoking and drinking, age and weight.
When we inhale air in an area with high levels of pollution, fine particulates containing toxic chemicals such as heavy metals pass into our lungs, allowing them to enter the bloodstream. At this point, toxic chemicals can cause damage to sperm as demonstrated in laboratory studies.
In order to investigate this case, Dr. Lao and his team took the sperm quality data from 6,500 15- to 49-year old men in Taiwan, and matched it against the fine particulate levels at their home addresses. They found a strong link between high air-pollution levels and abnormal sperm shape.
The effects were relatively small, but given the prevalence of air pollution, the researchers note that even small changes resulting from it could present a major public health challenge. However, scientists do not believe that this is the last result of air pollution and male fertility.
According to a recent research, living within 200 meters of the main road can increase the risk of infertility by 11%. High levels of air pollution and traffic fumes in the cities can cause fertility issues in women as well.
This risk is true even when the levels of particulate matter are relatively low. However, the risk increases with pollution levels. However, the human body has its own defense mechanism, external threats such as ocular and dermal contact, ingestion, and vertical and horizontal transfer that negatively affect fertility.
Tips to prevent infertility because of the chemical exposure are:
- Try using natural household cleaners instead of those mixed with chemicals.
- Install an air purifier at your home and some indoor plants to reduce the harmful effects of the air pollution.
- Consume a healthy well-balanced diet that can help you get rid of toxins from your body.
- Make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Cover your face with a mask perfectly to avoid inhaling the harmful pollutants.
- Learn more about the pollution levels in order to take the appropriate precautions.