New research has found that some chemicals in common household products, including toothpaste, soap and sunscreen, are affecting human sperm directly, and could be linked to an increase in male infertility.
Scientists have found that one in three supposedly non-toxic chemicals, which are used in everyday items, are impacting sperm cells negatively, and could be a contributing factor in the rise in infertility levels.
More specifically, the research conducted by Professor Niels Skakkebaek at Copenhagen University Hospital shows that the swimming behaviour of sperm is attacked by these chemicals and results in the premature release of enzymes required to fertilise an egg cell.
The report, published in The Independent, also uncovers that a cocktail mix of certain chemicals together heightens the effect of each one, making them more powerful in their attack.
Full details of which chemicals have been found to affect sperm motility have not yet been released, but they do include camphor-based UV filters, the anti-microbial agent Triclosan and at least one of the plasticisers called phthalates. These may be ingested in foods or potentially absorbed through the skin following topical application.
In 1991 Professor Skakkebaek, a leader in the investigation of the decline in male infertility, was responsible for bringing to light the 50% decrease in human sperm counts in the 50 years prior.
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