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Exposure to air pollution may result in infertility

Infertility has become a major health concern globally.  Tweet This! 48.5 million couples across the globe were estimated to be infertile in 2010, with exposure to air pollutants – especially PM, which affects more people than any other pollutant – considered as a possible cause of worsening sperm quality.

 

According to a study carried out among 6475 Taiwanese men of reproductive age (15 to 49 years), exposure to air pollution – primarily exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – may be connected to poorer quality sperm and to infertility for many couples. The average age of the study participants was 31.9 years and the majority (64.2%) never smoked, and consumed alcohol less than once a week (83.1%).

The study – considered the largest such study to have ever been conducted – found a strong connection between exposure to PM2.5 and decreased sperm normal morphology. More specifically, every 5 ug/m3 increase in fine particulate matter in the 2-year average (PM2.5 levels were estimated for a period of three months and an average of 2 years at every participant’s address) was connected with a reduction of 1.29% in sperm normal morphology and, also, with a 26% greater risk of being in the bottom 10% of sperm normal morphology (normal sperm shape and size).

“Given the ubiquity of exposure to air pollution, a small effect size of PM2.5 on sperm normal morphology may result in a significant number of couples with infertility,” concluded the researchers, adding that they “advocate global strategies on mitigation of air pollution to improve reproductive health.”

 

References:

This article was compiled using a publication by Occupational and Environmental Medicine. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses but made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the publication’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original please revert to the links below:

http://oem.bmj.com/content/early/2017/10/21/oemed-2017-104529

http://oem.bmj.com/content/oemed/suppl/2017/11/22/oemed-2017-104529.DC1/oemed-2017-104529_Press_release.pdf

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