Study: Microplastics found in every sample of human testicles, possibly explaining decline in male fertility
ยท May 21, 2024 ยท

Gentlemen, I know you didn't need this info to start your day. Or end it. Or ever, really. But it feels pretty important nonetheless:

Microplastics have been found in human testicles, with researchers saying the discovery might be linked to declining sperm counts in men.

The scientists tested 23 human testes, as well as 47 testes from pet dogs. They found microplastic pollution in every sample.

Okay, I'm sorry, not trying to be crude here, but you know we're all reading that like:

It's rough stuff. But how, exactly, do all those microplastics make their way, well, you know โ€” there?

Vast amounts of plastic waste are dumped in the environment and microplastics have polluted the entire planet, from the summit of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans. People are known to consume the tiny particles via food and water as well as breathing them in.

This unfortunate environmental factor has been known for a while, of course. Less clear is what kind of threat it poses to the reproductive system. Indeed, scientists have been mostly uncertain about the topic: "At the beginning, I doubted whether microplastics could penetrate the reproductive system," one researcher said:

When I first received the results for dogs I was surprised. I was even more surprised when I received the results for humans.

Needless to say, microplastics screwing up the human reproductive system has considerably bigger consequences for humanity. PVC "can release a lot of chemicals that interfere with spermatogenesis and it contains chemicals that cause endocrine disruption."

The plastics concentration in humans, meanwhile, was "almost three times higher than that found in the dog testes: 330 micrograms per gram of tissue compared with 123 micrograms."

Remember, we're already in the grip of an ongoing and worsening fertility crisis:

And yes, the signs for fertility are not great from this recent study:

[T]he sperm count in the dogs' testes could be assessed and was lower in samples with higher contamination with PVC. The study demonstrates a correlation but further research is needed to prove microplastics cause sperm counts to fall.

Not a good development in a world already filled with plastics.

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