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Microplastics found in all human testicles in study | plastics

Microplastics have been found in human testicles, and researchers say the discovery could be linked to declining sperm counts in men.

The scientists tested 23 human testicles, as well as 47 pet dog testicles. They found microplastic contamination in every sample.

The human testes had been preserved and therefore their sperm count could not be measured. However, sperm counts could be assessed in the testes of the dogs and were lower in samples with higher PVC contamination. The study shows a correlation, but more research is needed to show that microplastics cause sperm counts to drop.

The sperm count in men has been falling for decadeswith chemical pollution such as pesticides involved by many studies. Microplastics have also recently been discovered human blood, placentas i mother's milk, which indicates widespread contamination of people's bodies. The impact on health is still unknown, however Microplastics have been shown to cause damage to human cells in the laboratory

Large amounts of plastic waste are dumped into the environment and microplastics have polluted the entire planet, since summit of Everest to the deeper oceans. People are known to ingest the tiny particles through food i water as well as breathing them.

Particles could lodge in tissue and cause inflammation, as air pollution particles do, or chemicals in plastics could cause damage. In March, doctors warned of potentially fatal effects after finding a substantially increased risk of stroke, heart attack and earlier death in people whose blood vessels were contaminated with microscopic plastics.

“At first, I doubted that microplastics could penetrate the reproductive system,” said Professor Xiaozhong Yu of the University of New Mexico in the US. “When I first got the results for dogs I was surprised. I was even more surprised when I got the results for humans.”

The testicles analyzed were obtained from autopsies in 2016, and the men were between 16 and 88 years old when they died. “The impact on the younger generation could be more concerning” now that there is more plastic than ever in the environment, Yu said.

The study, published in the journal Toxicological Sciences, involved dissolving the tissue samples and then analyzing the plastic that remained. The dogs' testicles were obtained from veterinary practices performing castration operations.

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Human testicles had a concentration of plastic almost three times higher than that found in dog testicles: 330 micrograms per gram of tissue compared to 123 micrograms. Polyethylene, used in plastic bags and bottles, was the most common microplastic found, followed by PVC.

“PVC can release many chemicals that interfere with spermatogenesis, and it contains chemicals that cause endocrine disruption,” Yu said. The human testes had been routinely collected by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Examiner and were available after a seven-year storage requirement, after which the samples are usually discarded.

Also a smaller study in China in 2023 found microplastics in six human testicles and 30 semen samples. Recent studies in mice have reported that microplastics low sperm count i has caused anomalies and hormonal changes.


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