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Studies of decreasing sperm counts discover “alarm” levels of chemicals in male urine samples

London — Scientists looking for the cause of sperm count decline have a clearer picture of the role that chemical pollutants play — and it’s not clean.

A study of urine samples from nearly 100 male volunteers revealed “alarm” levels of endocrine disruptors that are known to reduce fertility in humans.

Cocktails of chemicals such as bisphenols and dioxins, which are thought to interfere with hormones and affect sperm quality, were present at levels up to 100 times higher than considered safe.

Median exposure to these chemicals was 17 times the level that seemed acceptable.

“A mixed risk assessment of chemicals that affect male reproductive health reveals a surprising excess of acceptable combined exposure,” wrote the author of a study published Thursday in the journal Environment International.

The study measured nine chemicals, including bisphenols, phthalates, and parasetamol, from urine samples from 98 Danish men aged 18 to 30 years.

In addition, existing data, primarily from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), were used to estimate potential exposure to 20 other chemicals.

The team then compared the results to acceptable exposure levels derived from the scientific literature.

This provided a measure of the potential impact of each chemical, which scientists combined to create an overall risk measure of the compound’s cocktail, the “hazard index.”

The author of a study led by Professor Andreas Cortenkamp of Brunel University London said he was “surprised” by the magnitude of this risk index for the volunteers he studied.

They were also surprised to discover that bisphenol A (BPA) is a major risk factor, given that recent research has focused on the phthalates used in plastics.

BPA was followed by dioxins, paracetamol and phthalates. Removal of BPA from the mixture did not reduce the combined exposure to acceptable levels, and paracetamol was described as a “promoter of mixing risk among subjects using the drug.”

Researchers have acknowledged some restrictions on their work.

For example, data used on dates from 2009 to 2010, and exposure to BPA may have decreased since then, but exposure to other chemicals may have increased.

Another uncertainty is whether women of reproductive age have the same levels of chemical exposure as men in the study.

However, researchers emphasize that given the “many chemicals that humans are exposed to,” they may actually underestimate the risks posed by exposure to these chemical cocktails. did.

Sperm quantity and quality have declined dramatically across Western countries in recent decades, with studies showing that sperm counts have more than halved in 40 years.

Meanwhile, other reproductive health disorders, such as non-descending testicles and testicular cancer, are on the rise.

Scientists around the world are looking at a variety of other possible causes behind sperm count decline, including lifestyle factors, tobacco consumption, and air pollution.

However, recent research has increasingly focused on the role that chemicals play.

“Our analysis has predictive features that can be verified by well-designed epidemiological studies of semen quality,” writes Kortenkamp and his colleagues.

While waiting for further research in the population, researchers called for urgent regulatory measures, such as a ban on BPA from food contact materials, as a precautionary measure.

They added that animal studies investigating the effects of different doses of paracetamol on semen quality are “totally lacking and urgently needed.” — Euronews

https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/621713/Life/Health/Research-into-falling-sperm-counts-finds-alarming-levels-of-chemicals-in-male-urine-samples?ref=rss&format=simple&link=link Studies of decreasing sperm counts discover “alarm” levels of chemicals in male urine samples

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