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Microplastics Detected in Every Semen Sample Analyzed by Chinese Research Team


A team of public health researchers from various institutions in China has discovered microplastics in every semen sample they tested. Their study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, involved analyzing semen samples from 36 healthy adult men.

Previous research has established the pervasive presence of microplastics, which have been detected in diverse environments ranging from mountaintops to remote islands, as well as in the upper atmosphere and the deepest parts of the world’s oceans. Microplastics have also been identified in every organ within the human body.

Recent findings have revealed that the average person consumes an amount of plastic equivalent to a credit card each week.

Plastics can enter the human body through various means, including drinking from plastic bottles, inhaling air particulates, or consuming food heated in plastic containers. The researchers emphasize that it is virtually impossible for people to avoid ingesting microplastics.

Health effects

The health effects of microplastic ingestion remain uncertain, but numerous scientists globally are investigating the issue, suspecting that microplastics may contribute to many inflammatory diseases.

In this new study, the research team hypothesized that ingested microplastics might be contributing to the worldwide decline in fertility rates. To test this theory, they recruited 36 healthy adult males from Jinan, a city in eastern China, ensuring that none of the participants worked in the plastics industry. Each participant provided a semen sample for analysis.

Types of plastics

The samples were prepared by mixing them with a chemical solution and then filtered for microscopic examination. The researchers found microplastics in every sample, identifying eight types of plastics, with polystyrene being the most prevalent. Polystyrene is commonly used in packaging foam.

Additionally, the researchers observed lower sperm motility in semen samples containing polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic fragments, a finding that might contribute to understanding the decline in fertility rates.

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Written by:

Harry Bikul
Postgraduated from Jahangirnagar University. Loves blogging and reading other people's writing. Spends leisure time watching good movies. Wants to travel around the world.

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