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Male Infertility Could be Tied to Air Pollution

January 12, 2018
Katie Visco

We've heard about all the dangers of not going green: a planet that becomes one giant landfill, more people with asthma due to poor air quality, and sea levels high enough to drown out all of New York City. For the past few decades, the lingering threat of global warming from the excess of greenhouse gases in the environment has caused a frenzy from activists in hope of saving the Earth. A new study suggests that air pollution isn't just killing our planet, though; air pollution could be hurting male fertility. With United States' fertility already on the decline, this could be a vital piece of the puzzle in figuring out why. 

Here's a quick rundown of what we know: 

Study Finds Link Between Air Pollution and Male Fertility

CFCs, Smog, and Contaminants--Oh My!

A new study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine suggests that air pollution could have adverse effects on sperm quality in men. The study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong says that the threat of pollutants in the air is not only harmful to our lungs and the future of our planets, but introduces a threat to the ability for men to procreate. Worst of all--they suggest that contaminated air can be found in almost every region of the world with human inhabitation. They suggest that the effects of pollutants are relatively low from a clinical point of view, but regarding the health of nations, we could have a serious problem on our hands in the future. 

What Does Sperm Quality Refer To?

Healthy Sperm is Vital in Male Fertility

With this study suggesting that air pollutants can be harmful to male fertility, what exactly does this mean? In short--healthy sperm must be properly shaped, be able to move properly, and there must be enough sperm to fertilize an egg successfully. Men who are generally healthy (have a healthy BMI, exercise frequently, and eat a balanced diet) tend to have higher quality sperm. Since air pollution has clear ties to health issues in humans, it should not be much of a surprise that male fertility could be at risk as well. With about 10% of couples in Western countries already facing infertility, we should be trying to preserve fertility as much as possible.

How Can I Do My Part in Reducing my Carbon Footprint?

Going green for you and your family is easier than you think

Here's three simple tips to decrease your carbon emissions yourself:

  1. Use Public Transportation--Cars are a huge source of air pollutants. If you live in an area where it's possible to take a bus or train to work, utilizing public transit can be a great way to reduce your own carbon emissions.
  2. Watch Your Diet--When it comes to fruits and vegetables, shop for locally-sourced produce as much as possible. There are less production and transportation costs and emission involved. If you're really committed to reducing your carbon footprint: cut out red meat.
  3. Be Energy-Smart--Although transitioning to geothermal or solar energy can be expensive (although sometimes, it doesn't have to be!), it's easy to be mindful of supporting companies and manufacturers who do their part in saving the planet.

Although the treats of air pollution on male fertility may be minimal, taking steps towards a healthier planet can make a healthier you. Give it a shot and do your part; your planet and future baby will thank you.


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