Pollution de l'air

Air pollution could affect sperm quality

The journal JAMA Networks has just published the results of a recent study conducted by Shanghai researchers on the impact of air pollution on sperm quality. These results revealed that air pollution could have a negative impact on sperm motility. A total of 33,876 men residing in China participated in the study.

The researchers found that men living in areas where the air contains a higher amount of particulate matter had a decline in the quality of their sperm. This drop in quality mainly affects motility or the ability of sperm to swim normally.

Particulate matter is all the tiny solid and liquid particles such as dust or smoke in the air that cause air pollution. As these are fine particles, they can get deep into the lungs and into the bloodstream, obviously causing a multitude of health problems.

The link between air pollution and sperm quality

It is true that air pollution is dangerous to human health. Research has already shown that certain health problems such as loss of vision, dementia, autism, or even cardiovascular problems are linked to poor air quality.

However, the link between air pollution and sperm quality has not yet been officially proven due to inconsistent data. Some experts working in the field have indicated that the link is not yet definitively proven. However, this latest study seems to be more convincing, compared to what had been done before. According to andrology professor at the University of Sheffield, Allan Pacey, this latest study provides further evidence to suggest the link is real. This is also an impressive study as it uses data collected from over 30,000 men.

Pacey added that the findings that air pollution in this part of China may be associated with reduced sperm motility were interesting. However, this is a correlation and not a causation.

Other factors that can influence sperm quality

Besides air quality, other factors could also impact sperm quality. For example, there is ethnic origin, age, body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, or even weather conditions.

Taking these factors into account, some researchers indicated that one should still be cautious about the study results. According to Professor Kevin McConway, professor emeritus of applied statistics at the Open University, the scientists behind the study mentioned that they did not consider the eating habits and physical condition, or occupation of the subjects. Thus, according to him, they should not conclude that this study showed that air pollution in particular affects sperm motility.


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