Burn those bedsheets, rip up that carpet and um, donate your flashy clothes.
The latest research from scientists at the University of Nottingham suggests that environmental contaminants found in your common home could be the reason why male fertility rates have been in free fall over the last eighty years.
The latest study published in Scientific Reports identifies two specific human-made chemicals that could be causing this to happen. One of them is the common plasticiser known as DEHP which is widely found in home ware including carpets, flooring, furniture upholstery and even the clothes on your back. The other chemical is the industrial substance known as polychlorinated biphenyl 153, which although banned globally, is still widely detectable in today’s environment – including food.
Oddly enough the researchers tied their latest findings to a previous study which displayed the same effects on male domestic dogs, leading them to question whether modern day chemicals in the home were partly to blame.
“This new study supports our theory that the domestic dog is indeed a ‘sentinel’ or mirror for human male reproductive decline and our findings suggest that human-made chemicals that have been widely used in the home and working environment may be responsible for the fall in sperm quality reported in both man and dog that share the same environment,” said the study’s Associate Professor, Richard Lea.
“Our previous study in dogs showed that the chemical pollutants found in the sperm of adult dogs, and in some pet foods, had a detrimental effect on sperm function at the concentrations previously found in the male reproductive tract. This new study is the first to test the effect of two known environmental contaminants, DEHP and PCB153, on both dog and human sperm in vitro, in the same concentrations as found in vivo.”
Rebecca Sumner who is the PhD student behind the experimental work has even more bad news for men. She found that in both cases and both subjects (human and dog), the effect was reduced sperm motility and increased fragmentation of DNA.
“We know that when human sperm motility is poor, DNA fragmentation is increased and that human male infertility is linked to increased levels of DNA damage in sperm. We now believe this is the same in pet dogs because they live in the same domestic environment and are exposed to the same household contaminants,” she explained.
“This means that dogs may be an effective model for future research into the effects of pollutants on declining fertility, particularly because external influences such as diet are more easily controlled than in humans.”
But before you run off the become a recluse living your best naked life in the wild, Professor Gary England who heads the School of Veterinary Medicine says that the levels of the two suspected chemicals are dependent on where you live.
“Since environmental pollutants largely reflect a Western way of life such as the effects of industry, the chemicals present in the environment are likely to depend on the location. An important area of future study is to determine how the region in which we live may effect sperm quality in both man and dog.”
In other words, run off to become a recluse living your best naked life in the wild.