The dangerous effects of pesticide exposure have been widely publicized, but researchers are now finding that residue, found on surface of fruits and vegetables, can lower a man’s sperm quality as well.
According to the new study published in the journal Human Reproduction, researchers discovered that men who consumed the largest amount of fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue had a 49 percent lower sperm count as well as a 32 percent decrease in normally-formed sperm.
Found in non-organic fruits and vegetables, these pesticide residues can cause cellular disruption and DNA damage, resulting in depleted antioxidant protection and impacting fertility.
Dr. Jorge Chavarro, the author of the study, analyzed 388 semen samples from 155 men ranging in age from 18 to 55 years old over the course of a five year period.
The men who ate the most pesticide-rich foods had an average sperm count of 86 million; the healthier counterparts had a total count of 171 million – a remarkable difference.
According to studies done abroad and all over Europe, researchers have recorded a 50 percent drop in sperm count between 1940 and 1990.
Due to the unregulated terms and usage of pesticides, very little is being done to require growers to report their use near school systems or provide substantial buffer zones to protect the public at large.
It’s vital to know which foods carry the highest risk for exposure and to choose organic whenever possible from reputable sources.
The “Dirty Dozen,” Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) quintessential list of the most pesticide-laden produce, uses six metrics, including the total number of pesticides detected on over 48 different fruits and vegetable crops.
The top five foods with the highest toxin load include apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, and peaches.
In fact, during testing a single grape proved to be positive for 15 different pesticides and 99 percent of apples tested positive for at least one residue. Potatoes, by weight, had more pesticide residue than any other food on EWG’s list.
Until proper restrictions and practicing guidelines are in place, it becomes extremely important to avoid all foods subjected to pesticides in order protect a healthy sperm count.