Pesticides that people use in their homes and gardens, as well as to spray lawns and agricultural products, are contributing to a dramatic drop in sperm count in men around the world.
This is the conclusion reached by scientists who analyzed research conducted over the past 50 years, writes CNN.
“Over the course of 50 years, sperm concentration (the number of sperm per milliliter of semen – ed.) worldwide has fallen by about 50%. Although there are probably many more reasons, our study shows a close connection between this problem and the spread of organophosphates and N-methylcarbamates “, – says the author of the study, dean of the College of Public Health at George Mason University in Fairfax (Virginia) Melissa Perry.
Organophosphates are one of the most commonly used compounds in the world. They are the main components of nerve gases, herbicides (drugs to control unwanted vegetation), pesticides and insecticides (means to protect plants from harmful insects). They are also used to create plastics and solvents.
“They are widely used in agriculture to treat crops that we eat. Organophosphates are also used in building structures and for the care of ornamental lawns.” Perry explains.
N-methylcarbamates are structurally and functionally similar to organophosphates. They are part of insecticides used to control pests of field, fruit and vegetable crops. They are known to kill insects by damaging their brains and nervous systems.
In a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, scientists examined studies of two chemicals that were conducted in different parts of the world. In them, experts looked at 42 different levels of exposure among 1,774 men.
The study found that men with higher exposure to pesticides (such as agricultural workers) had significantly lower sperm concentrations than men with the least exposure to organophosphates and N-methylcarbamates.
Since the concentration of sperm is one of the important indicators of reproductive capacity, experts recommend reducing exposure to pesticides: for this, choose organic products or thoroughly wash ordinary vegetables and fruits with water.
“Sperm is an incredibly sensitive indicator when it comes to a man’s overall health. That’s why I recommend avoiding unnecessary exposure to insecticides – especially if you’re planning to start a family and want to conceive children.”says the scientist.
We will remind you that we previously wrote that mobile phones emitting low-frequency electromagnetic fields can affect the quality of sperm in men.
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