Microplastics In Men May Be Contributing To Fertility Decline

(PatriotWise.com) — Researchers have found eight different types of cancer-causing microplastics in the sperm samples of men, which could cause a decrease in fertility.

Microplastics and nano-plastics (MNPs) are found everywhere and easily enter the body through breathing or even ingesting food or drink. MNPs have been detected in every part of the human body, including the heart, brain, vascular system, and genitals.

Previous studies have linked MNPs to cancer, with the small particles capable of penetrating cell membranes, where they can accumulate and cause cellular stress.

In a new study published in Science of the Total Environment, researchers from China’s Qingdao University collected the sperm samples of 36 men to test for the presence of MNPs.

The researchers found the presence of eight different types of MNPs, including particles of the plastic used in PVC pipe and styrofoam.

According to the study, the semen samples containing microplastics from PVC pipe showed lower sperm mobility, suggesting that there may be a link between the presence of MNPs and the declining fertility rates worldwide.

The researchers selected 36 healthy men who did not have a history of working in an industry that would put them in regular contact with plastics and tested their sperm samples for the presence of MNPs.

In every sample, the researchers found at least one of the eight different varieties of MNPs. The most common MNP detected in the samples was polystyrene, the plastic used in making styrofoam. Also common was polyvinyl chloride, the plastic used in PVC piping.

While the sperm counts did not vary significantly from sample to sample, the sperm mobility in the samples containing polyvinyl chloride was lower.

A study published in Chemosphere earlier this year found that MNPs are capable of passing into the new cells that are created during cell division. The study also determined that there was no sign of MNPs getting eliminated from cells once they were present, which could lead to an accumulation of MNP particles in cells.

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