Other Environmental Toxins

There are several reports detailing the occurrence of decreased sperm counts in men who have resided in developed countries over the last 50 years. It has been suggested that the reason for this trend is increased environmental exposure to estrogen-like compounds as well as other chemicals that act as antiandrogens. This evidence has been repeated in a number of investigations.4 A study investigating the effects of estrogenic substances (diethylstilbestrol, beta-estradiol [E2], daidzein, genistein, and nonylphenyl) on sperm was performed; the investigators found that the effects of these estrogenic substances caused similar negative effects as known reproductive toxins (lead sulfate, nitrate, and acetate, dibromochloropropane, ethylene glycol monoethyl ether, 1,2-epoxybutene, and 1,2,3,4-diepoxybutane). However, these in vitro studies using large amounts of single compounds have not been validated in human studies.5 Additional studies have linked other environmental toxins to fertility problems. A study that examined the blood levels of organochlorines in men with either poor or normal semen quality revealed an inverse relationship between sperm count and progressive motility and poly-chlorinated biphenyl metabolite concentrations.6 This study revealed a relationship between significantly decreased sperm counts and elevated organochlorine blood levels. In addition, a linear relationship was shown between organochlorine levels and the ages of the volunteers. These brief studies provide proof of the effects that environmental factors may have on male reproductive health.

A correlation exists between low prostate zinc levels and prostatic carcinoma.

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