Pesticides on fruit can cut sperm count in half
Pesticide residues coating non-organic fruit and vegetables may be harming men's fertility, new research suggests.
Scientists demonstrated a link between the chemicals, sprayed on to crops to prevent damage by insect pests, and reduced sperm count and quality.
The study of 155 men found that those who ate the most fruit and vegetables with high pesticide residue levels had a 49pc lower sperm count than those who consumed the least. They also had 32pc fewer sperm that was normally formed.
Leading British fertility expert Prof Allan Pacey, from the University of Sheffield, said: "This is a very interesting paper that raises the possibility that pesticide residues in our food may be a contributory factor in male infertility, at least in some men.
"That said, while the results are tantalising, they should be interpreted with caution as the study is not without its flaws and limitations."
The study involved analysing 338 semen samples taken from 155 men who were attending a US fertility centre between 2007 and 2012.
The authors acknowledged limitations to the study, including the fact that men attending fertility clinics may not be representative of the population as a whole.
Almost half the men taking part in the research had at least one semen characteristic below the reference limits set by the World Health Organisation.