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Plastic additive can slow down sperm cells (2015-11-13)

To study if levels of phthalate metabolites were associated with semen quality and reproductive hormones in general Swedish men researchers recruited 314 young men delivering semen, urine and blood samples at the same visit.

New research from Lund University in Sweden analyzed reproductive hormones and several semen parameters including progressive motility and high DNA stainability (HDS), a marker for sperm immaturity.
In urine, they analyzed metabolites of phthalates, including diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and studied associations between urinary levels of the metabolites and seminal as well as serum reproductive parameters, accounting for potential confounders.

Among the men with the lowest amounts of the compound in their urine, some 57 percent of their sperms swam forwards as they should. Among those with the highest phthalate counts, this sperm motility dipped to 46 percent.

DEHP metabolite levels, particularly urinary mono-(2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) phthalate (MECPP), were negatively associated with progressive sperm motility, which was 11 percentage points lower in the highest quartile of MECPP than in the lowest. Further, men in the highest quartile of the DEHP metabolite monoethylhexyl phthalate had 27% higher HDS than men in the lowest quartile.

See also
Harmful effects of bisphenol A proved experimentally (2013-01-24)
"...this procedure made it possible to show for the first time, that phtalates (a different category of endocrine disruptors that are found in PVC, plastics, synthetic materials, sprays, etc.) inhibit the development of future spermatozoa in the human ftus..."

Food Packaging and Bisphenol A and Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate Exposure: Findings from a Dietary Intervention (05/04/2011)

For more information
Phthalate exposure and reproductive parameters in young men from the general Swedish population