Scientists found microplastics in the sperm of healthy men

June 8, 2024  21:36

A team of public health researchers working at several institutions in China found microplastics in the semen of each of the samples they tested. In their study, which is published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, the team of scientists investigated the presence of microplastics in semen samples obtained from 36 healthy adult men.

In a recent study, the scientists found that the average man consumes an amount of plastic equal to about one credit card each week.

The researchers note that microplastics can enter the body in a variety of ways, such as drinking from water bottles, inhaling particulate matter in the air, or eating food heated in plastic containers. 

In this new work, the research team wondered whether eating microplastics could be responsible for the global decline in birth rates. To find out, they recruited 36 healthy adult men living in the city of Jinan, in eastern China, who did not work in the plastics industry - each donating a semen sample for testing.

The researchers found microplastics in each sample. They also found eight types of plastic, the most common of which was polystyrene, which is commonly used to make packaging foam.

The team of scientists also found decreased sperm motility in semen samples containing pieces of polyvinyl chloride plastic, which may help explain the decreased fertility rates.

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