Science & Tech

Every human testicle examined had microplastics in says new study

Every human testicle examined had microplastics in says new study
Here’s a Simple Way to Make Sure You Don’t Ingest Any Microplastics
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According to a new study, every human and canine testicle that was studied had microplastics in it.

Researchers at the University of New Mexico found "significant concentrations" of microplastics in testicular tissue for both species, according to a press release from the university.

A new paper reported finding 12 different types of microplastics in 47 canine and 23 human testes.

The team behind the research was led by Xiaozhong 'John' Yu.

Yu said: "In the beginning, I doubted whether microplastics could penetrate the reproductive system.

"When I first received the results for dogs I was surprised. I was even more surprised when I received the results for humans.

"We don't want to scare people. We want to scientifically provide the data and make people aware there are a lot of microplastics. We can make our own choices to better avoid exposures, change our lifestyle and change our behaviour."

Yu said heavy metals, pesticides and endocrine-disrupting chemicals have all been implicated in a global decline in sperm count and quality in recent years.

The researchers found the most prevalent polymer in both human and canine tissue was polyethylene (PE), which is used to make plastic bags and bottles.

In dogs that was followed by PVC, which is used in industrial, municipal and household plumbing and in many other applications, and was correlated to find higher levels of PVC with lower sperm counts.

"The plastic makes a difference," Yu said.

"What type of plastic might be correlated with potential function. PVC can release a lot of chemicals that interfere with spermatogenesis and it contains chemicals that cause endocrine disruption."

His team obtained anonymous human tissue from the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator, which collects tissue during autopsies and stores it for seven years before disposing of it.

The canine tissue came from Albuquerque animal shelters and private vet clinics that perform spay-neutering operations.

Yu said: "Compared to rats and other animals, dogs are closer to humans. Physically, their spermatogenesis is closer to humans and the concentration has more similarity to humans.

"We believe dogs and humans share common environmental factors that contribute to their decline. The impact on the younger generation might be more concerning."

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