Sperms’ Swimming and Navigational Skills Disrupted By Common Chemicals


Ian Sample
The Guardian
May 13, 2014

Human sperm stained for semen quality testing in the clinical laboratory. / Credit: Bobjgalindo, Wikimedia Commons

Human sperm stained for semen quality testing in the clinical laboratory. / Credit: Bobjgalindo, Wikimedia Commons

Common chemical additives found in sunscreens, food packaging, toothpaste and toys can harm sperm and may affect the fertility of some couples, scientists say.

Tests on 96 ubiquitous and supposedly non-toxic substances found that nearly one third disrupted the way sperm functioned, affecting their swimming and navigational skills, and their ability to fertilize an egg.

The findings – from an experiment conducted on sperm in dishes in the lab – are the first to demonstrate how the chemicals, which are so widespread they are detectable in people’s blood, can impact on sperm and potentially harm reproduction.

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