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Whether you are aware of it or not hazardous chemicals are often lurking in many of the products we use and immediate environment.  Two of these man-made chemicals include: i.) DEHP, a softener for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used in a wide array of products such as carpets, clothes and toys and, ii.) polychlorinated biphenyl 153, now banned but once used in coolant fluids in electrical apparatus and carbonless copy paper but has remained detectable in water and food supplies, and has been linked to human diabetes and animal cancer.

Researchers from Nottingham University investigated the impact of these two chemicals on the fertility of both male human and dog test subjects living in the same area.  The results showed such environmental contaminants lowered the sperm quality in both species.

Data suggests there has been a 50% global reduction in human male fertility over the last 80 years.  This study published in the latest Scientific Reports supports the theory that dogs are a “mirror for human male reproductive decline” says Richard Lea, lead author.  These findings suggest man-made chemicals widely used in the home and at work are partly responsible for this adverse effect.

As many dogs in Western culture share the same home environment as us, it follows pollutants found within the home and diet could impact their health in a similar way to our own.  However as humans typically control their dog’s food intake, future research opportunities include investigating how diet may impact dog fertility, and whether the region in which dogs and humans live influences sperm quality across species.

R.N. Sumner, M. Tomlinson, J. Craigon, G.C.W. England, R.G. Lea (2019). Independent and combined effects of diethylhexyl phthalate and polychlorinated biphenyl 153 on sperm quality in the human and dog. Scientific Reports (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-39913-9
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – 13 June 2013. “Health Effects of PCBs”.

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