In a nutshell
This study investigated if per-/polyfluorolkyls (PFAs) are associated with semen quality. They found that higher semen PFA levels were associated with lower semen quality.
Semen quality is declining worldwide. It is measured by several parameters. These include sperm count (SC) and sperm concentration (SCC). Sperm motility (SM; movement) is another important parameter. Sperm DNA fragmentation (SDF) can also suggest poorer semen quality. The cause of declining semen quality is unclear.
Lifestyle factors like smoking and stress can reduce semen quality. Exposure to environmental substances is also linked to reduced semen quality. Per-/polyfluoroalkyls (PFAs) are artificial chemicals. PFAs are used in many industrial and consumer products. They can be found in food, fabrics or household products. Some PFAs have a long half-life. This means that PFAs take a long time to break down. As a result, humans can have high exposure to PFAs. High exposure to PFAs can reduce male fertility in rats. It is unclear if PFA exposure can reduce semen quality in men.
Methods & findings
This study included 664 men. Semen and blood samples were taken to measure PFA levels. Semen quality was also analyzed. 16 PFAs were measured.
PFAs were found in both blood and semen samples. The concentration of PFAs was much higher in semen. Higher PFA levels in semen were associated with poorer SM and higher SDF. This suggests reduced semen quality. Certain PFAs were associated with reduced SC. In men with the highest PFA had the most significant decline in semen quality.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that higher PFA levels in semen were associated with lower semen quality.
The fine print
This study was conducted in China. The exposure to PFAs may be different in other regions of the world. 69% of men had not fathered a child. It is unclear if reduced semen quality affected the ability to father children. More studies are needed.
If you have any concerns regarding infertility please consult with your physician.
Published By :
Environmental health perspectives
Dec 01, 2019