Sperm quality can be affected by many factors such as the foods that we eat, physical activity, and smoking. Recently, researchers found that ozone exposure may adversely affect the quality of sperm.
A study of men who living in Los Angeles found that exposure to elevated ozone levels adversely affects the developing of sperm, leading to lower sperm quality. The study result which was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives may lead to a better understanding of the causes of infertility in men.
The study analyzed semen samples collected from a sperm donor bank in Los Angeles and compared the quality of the samples with air quality data. The researchers found that exposure to high levels of ozone near the homes of donors adversely affect semen quality. The impact of pollutants were found capable to affect the sperm function (spermatogenesis).
“We found an inverse relationship between ozone exposure and sperm concentration at all study points. Our data show that spermatozoa are vulnerable to this exposure throughout spermatogenesis,” said the researcher, Rebecca Z. Sokol as reported in Altpenis.
This study also looked at other pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter. Each of these air pollutants were believed to affect sperm production, but no association between sperm density and exposure to the other air pollutants was found.
How ozone adversely affects sperm quality is still unknown. However, ozone exposure can cause oxidative stress, which is known to interfere with testicular and sperm function. In addition, exposure to ozone can cause an inflammatory reaction in the male genital tract or the formation of toxic chemicals – both of which can cause a decrease in sperm concentration.
“Many findings had demonstrated the potential environmental reproductive hazards. Several have reported that a decline in sperm counts in certain industrialized countries. The validity of these findings continues to be controversial, but most researchers agree that the decline in semen quality does exist, this effect is probably associated with geographic location,” said Sokol.