Over the past 50 years, fertility rates have reportedly fallen worldwide from chemicals found in sunscreen. According to a study done by researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the filters used to absorb UV lights could have a negative impact on male fertility by stopping sperm from properly functioning.
Benzophenone, when absorbed by the skin, can cause a disruption in the body’s hormones and endocrine system processes, which produces hormones that regulate metabolism, sexual function, reproduction and tissue function. Researchers tested 29 approved UV filters by dissolving and applying them to sperm samples from volunteers. Throughout the study, researchers found that half of the filters disrupted sperm functionality.
UV Filter’s Effect on Sperm
When applied to human sperm, the UV filters began mimicking progesterone, a female hormone, which caused an alteration in the sperm’s inner workings. Even at low qualities, the UV filters were reported to have a noticeable effect.
Because sunscreen is extremely important for sun protection, researchers encourage people to continue using sunscreen to avoid skin cancer. Men who have concerns about fertility, however, are advised to find alternative ways to reduce exposure to benzophenone UV filters by either eliminating products containing the filter or washing it off after coming back inside.
At the end of the study, researchers concluded there are a number of other factors that can be responsible for the decline of sperm quality. Smoking, excessively drinking alcohol and rising obesity rates are all to blame for the steady decline seen in fertility but further research is needed to provide concrete solutions.
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