FFE Magazine

Disturbing infertility find on pigs may apply to Men

11jun spain infertility pigs


In 2010, 41 pig farms across Spain experienced a drop in fertility rates and litter numbers. Analytical chemist Cristina Nerín set out to investigate the problem and found out that the unexpected culprit could also be affecting humans.


The scientist from the University of Zaragoza originally tested semen used to artificially inseminate female pigs for disease or malformation.  She found that the semen were healthy, so she looked for other factors that could have caused the drop in fertility rate.


She then tested the plastic bags used to store the semen and saw that the chemical compounds in the bags were linked to the reproductive failures of the pigs. More specifically, the compounds damaged the sperm’s DNA.


Nerín wrote in her published study: ‘(It) shows the real risks we face.’ She said that these toxic compounds that migrate into food are often used in food packaging for humans.


In a separate study conducted by German scientists, 96 endocrine disruptors found in chemicals ‘omnipresent in food, household and personal care products’ were tested for their effects on the human sperm. They found out that the sperm’s tail changed shape, making it more difficult for them to ‘sense where the egg is.’


The human sperm were exposed to chemicals in sunscreens, toothpastes, soaps, toys and food.


The two studies could serve as basis for food authorities to study the harmful effects of indiscriminate use of plastic bags to store food. In the Philippines and possibly many other countries, food take-outs from small stores and street vendors are frequently placed inside plastic bags.



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