May 23, 2008

Paint Fumes May Slow Sperm

British scientists warn male painters exposed to glycol ethers they may be more likely to have poor semen quality.

Researchers at the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester in England found men exposed to glycol either -- found in many products including water-based paints -- have a two-point-five-fold increased chance of having a low motile, or moving, sperm count.

Motile sperm move spontaneously and independently. Motility is an important factor in the fertility of men and the concentration of motile sperm per ejaculate has shown to be linked with conception.

We know that certain glycol ethers can affect male fertility and the use of these has reduced over the past two decades, Andy Povey of the University of Manchester said in a statement. However our results suggest that they are still a workplace hazard and that further work is needed to reduce such exposure.

The findings, published in the journal Occupational Environmental Medicine, are part of collaborative study to determine the occupational risks to male infertility through workplace chemical exposure undertaken in 14 fertility clinics in 11 cities that examined the working lives of 2,118 men.