For a first time a direct link between exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals from industrial products and adverse effects on human sperm function has been found.
These are the findings of a German – Danish team of researchers from the Center of Advanced European Studies and Research in Bonn, Germany, and the University Department of Growth and Reproduction, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark. The work, which is published in EMBO reports, suggests that endocrine disruptors may contribute to widespread fertility problems in the Western world in a way that hitherto has not been recognized.
Nearly one third of the researched chemical compounds led to abnormally high calcium levels in the sperm, which harmed their overall performance. Their swimming suffered and they launched too early a cocktail of digestive enzymes that are necessary to break by way of the egg’s outer coating.
Endocrine disruptors are present in food, textiles, drugs, household and personal-care products such as plastic bottles, toys, and cosmetics. Proving the deleterious effects of endocrine disruptors on human beings has been difficult due to a lack of suitable experimental systems.
Photo by: Shutterstock