Environmental Factors Impact Men’s Reproductive Health

Rene Almeling’s new book “GUYnecology: The Missing Science of Men’s Reproductive Health” examines why men know little about their reproductive health and how their decisions and environment can impact the condition of their sperm — and ultimately their unborn children. Yet according to Yale sociologist Almeling, the medical profession has paid little attention to men’s reproductive health and this has implications for men and society as a whole.

Not Just a Women’s Issue: Damaged Sperm Affects Pregnancy Outcomes

A father’s age, his use of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, and his exposure to toxic workplace chemicals can damage his sperm and increase the chance of miscarriage, birth defects and childhood illnesses. It’s not enough to concentrate solely on women’s health and behavior. The medical community should also pay attention to men’s reproductive health because it has a far-reaching impact on the lives of their children.

Workplace and Environmental Toxins Damage Reproductive DNA

Research shows that the metals and chemicals found in air, water, food, beauty products, and pesticides can decrease sperm count and function. These pesticides include organochlorine compounds (chlorinated pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and dioxins), bisphenol A (BPA), and organophosphate pesticides and herbicides.

Other chemicals, metals, and air pollutants can damage male fertility. Men residing in cities and industrial areas experience significant reduction in sperm motility and have increased numbers of sperm with abnormal chromatin. In addition, air pollutants from vehicle exhaust are also associated with reduced fertility in men. PM10 and total suspended particulates of SO2, CO, and Nox tend to have the biggest impact on male fertility.

High-Risk Industries for Toxic Chemical Exposure 

Certain industries have also been linked to toxic chemical exposure that impact men’s fertility. The chemicals used or produced by hydraulic fracking, such as EDC, can negatively impact reproductive organs, body weight, puberty, fertility, and reproductive cancer. Taken together, chemicals associated with hydraulic fracking (e.g., benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol and ozone) negatively impact semen quality and reduce sperm counts. In addition, a recent study reported that a chemical used in fracking can block the effects of testosterone and other male sex hormones known as androgens. Possible adverse health outcomes are abnormal reproductive function, male infertility and disrupted testicular and prostate development.

By the same token, the pesticides used in the agriculture industry negatively impact men’s fertility. Organochlorine chemicals, such as DDT and PCBs, were banned in the United States in the 1970s, but they continue to exist in the environment years later and harm the reproductive health of farmers. Studies have shown that these chemicals decrease sperm count and mobility – and new research shows that they also cause chromosomal abnormalities, resulting in miscarriages and children born with birth defects.

How We Help Victims of Toxic Exposure

The attorneys of our birth defects victims alliance understand the pain that families face when coping with life-altering birth defects—and the frustration of knowing they could have been prevented. Our team has over 30 years of combined experience in birth defects litigation in cases involving toxic exposure. We have the resources and experience to fight on behalf of our clients against corporations who put them in danger. Call us to see how we can help you and your family receive justice for birth defects.