Additives known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) compromise male fertility by interfering with a membrane-bound calcium channel that normally controls motility of sperm cells, according to researchers in Germany and Denmark. EDCs are used in hundreds of household products—including toothpastes, sunscreens, cosmetics, plastic bottles, and toys—and scientists determined that they can cause fertility problems in previous studies. But a study published in the journal EMBO reports yesterday (May 12) is the first to posit a mechanism for how the chemical additives affect fertility in the human reproductive tract.
“For the first time, we have shown a direct link between exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals from industrial products and adverse effects on human sperm function,” study coauthor and Copenhagen University Hospital researcher Niels Skakkebaek said in a statement.
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