Exposure to chemicals found in plastics and chemical lotions makes men suffer from infertility, says a new study.
Compounds phthalates are used in plastics to make them more flexible and in cosmetic lotions to make them smoother. But the strange characteristic of phthalates is that though they are also found in women, they tend to pose fertility problems only in males.
Phthalates are a group of industrial compounds that interfere with the endocrine system, which is responsible for the production and distribution of hormones in the body.
"It's the males in the study that are driving the effect," said Germaine Buck Louis, an epidemiologist at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and lead author of the report.
Many other studies conducted over the past two decades have suggested that phthalates affect the functioning of testosterone. Recent studies in the US also said that exposure to phthalate damaged sperm in men.
The chemicals have been known to cause an array of a range of health problems, including birth defects, cancers and diabetes. But researchers are more worried about their influence on the human reproductive system.
To understand the influence of everyday chemicals on fertility, for four years, federal researchers followed 501 couples who tried to have children.