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Air pollution may impact sperm quality, new study suggests

Men that live in areas with high levels of particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution tend to have worse sperm quality, according to a new study published in Jama Network. 

Researchers in Shanghai studied 33,876 men in China and found that poor air quality impacted sperm mobility, meaning the ability of the sperm to swim the right way. 

Although the link between fertility and air pollution has been noted previously, the connection between sperm quality and polluted air has been conclusively shown due to inconsisnent data. 

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‘This paper adds to the evidence base suggesting the link is real and is impressive because it uses semen quality data from over 30,000 men,’ commented Professor Allan Pacey, Professor of Andrology at the University of Sheffield.

‘The conclusions (that increased air pollution in this particular part of China may be associated with reduced sperm motility) is interesting but of course, is correlation and not causation,’ added Pacey.

However, the researchers do highlight that factors other than air quality may be at play here. Factors that influence sperm quality like ethnicity, age, body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, and some aspects of the weather were taken into account by the researchers, but it’s not possible to adjust for everything that might have been relevant.

In related news, late last year, Air Quality News conducted an in-depth investigation into the different ways that air pollution impacts fertility. 

 

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