Scientists believe that men’s prowess in the area of reproduction is on the decline, and while there are a number of social, economic, and environmental factors at play, the presence of microplastics in male testicles will only add to the torture that many people have when trying to conceive. The connection between microplastics and male fertility, experts believe, is real, and can be serious

Data suggests that male sperm counts have halved, globally, in the past 50 years, with the rate of decline continuing to accelerate. Research into men’s waning powers to procreate has highlighted smoking, pollution, and a number of other factors in determining the strength of a sperm, but it now seems that we can add plastic to the list of concerns. A recent study published by Oxford Academic’s Toxicological Sciences identified 12 different microplastics were present in the dog and human testis samples that they looked at.

How does microplastics disrupt male fertility?

Having taken 47 canine testis tissue samples from dog neutering operations, and 23 human samples from anonymized males, researchers found the microplastics in men were three times greater than in the dogs that they observed. The most common polymers present were polyethylene (PE), often used in packaging, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), utilized in construction, medical equipment, and also packaging. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) was also found among another of other compounds.

“.. A negative correlation between specific polymers such as PVC and PET and the normalized weight of the testis was observed,” commented the report, detailing that certain microplastics were not just associated with a decreased sperm count but also a decline in overall testicular weight. “These findings highlight the pervasive presence of microplastics in the male reproductive system in both canine and human testes, with potential consequences on male fertility.”

Those consequences on male fertility will now be examined further, with analysts understanding the need for the observation of a higher rate of human samples. But with plastic already thought to lower male testosterone levels, its power to derail our reproductive systems is looking ever clearer.