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Parabens in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, plastics, detergents, food, pesticides, tied to poor semen quality (2017-08-21)

To evaluate the association between environmental exposure to parabens and semen quality parameters urine samples were collected from 315 men who attended the infertility clinic for diagnostic purposes.

Parabens and other so-called hormone disruptors may have developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune-system side effects, and they may be found in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, pesticides, plastics, detergents, food, toys, and flame retardants, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Parabens are widely used preservatives in cosmetic products, including soaps, creams and makeup.
The most common parabens in cosmetics are methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.
Typically, several parabens are used in combination to increase their effectiveness.
Parabens are also so ubiquitous that theyíre hard to avoid.

Urinary parabens concentrations were significantly associated with an increase in the percentage of sperm with abnormal morphology, in sperm with high DNA stainability and a decrease in the percentage of motility and testosterone level.

Higher levels of parabens in the urine were also associated with DNA damage in the sperm and whatís known as decreased motility, or slower moving sperm that may contribute to infertility by being unable to travel far enough to reach an egg.

The current study found one chemical in particular, butyl paraben, associated with an increase in the percentage of sperm with an abnormal size and shape as well as a decrease in sperm motility.

Another chemical, ethyl paraben, was associated only with sperm of atypical size and shape.

Because the men all joined the study after visiting a fertility clinic, itís also possible the results might not apply to other men.
Scientists donít know exactly what amount of parabens might be harmful or exactly how they work in the human body to damage fertility.

Some parabens are banned from cosmetics in the European Union, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not limited use of the ingredients.

See also
Updated - Pesticide in food: residue adherence rates above 97% but mixtures of pollutants may have long-term health consequences (2014-05-29)

For more information
Human Semen Quality, Sperm DNA Damage, and the Level of Reproductive Hormones in Relation to Urinary Concentrations of Parabens
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine