Study: Fruit and vegetable pesticides may cut sperm count by nearly half

Numerous studies have suggested dangerous effects from pesticides, but now researchers have discovered the first link between pesticides and a lower quality of semen.

The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction found that men who ate the largest amount of fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue had a 49 percent lower sperm count and a 32 percent lower percentage of normally-formed sperm than men who consumed the least amount of produce with pesticides.

Dr. Jorge Chavarro, study author and assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, told he was surprised at the significant effect of pesticide consumption on sperm count.

"While previous work had linked occupational exposure to pesticides to impaired sperm production I was skeptical that pesticide residues in food could have a similar effect," Chavarro said. "I think this study opened a lot more questions than I had anticipated."

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