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Pesticide-Laden Produce May Affect Sperm Quality

Consuming fruits and vegetables with high pesticide residues is associated with lower sperm quality.

If people are going to be eating more vegetables and fruits, as health experts say they should, it may be time to consider the impact of pesticides on that produce.

Do Pesticides Affect Fertility?

A new study has found that men who report eating the most produce containing pesticide residues had lower sperm quality. The 155 men in the sample were contacted through fertility clinics between  2007 and 2012. They were part of couples that were having difficulty conceiving.

High-Pesticide Produce and Lower Sperm Counts

The men responded to extensive questionnaires about their dietary patterns and gave semen samples for analysis. Those who ate more than one serving of high-pesticide produce every day had only half the number of sperm and two-thirds as many active normal sperm as men who ate less than half a serving. The total amount of produce didn’t matter.

The researchers say that sperm counts and appearance are not necessarily linked to fertility, but this observation does raise a red flag about pesticides for couples that want to have a baby. For them, eating organic might be worth the added expense.

Human Reproduction, March 30, 2015

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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