London: Men please take note! Higher exposure to a common plastic chemical found in wallpaper, sandals, nail polish, perfume, floors and carpets in our daily life can hamper sperms' speed, leading to less chances of having children.
According to researchers from Lund University in Sweden, men with higher exposure to the substance DEHP - a so-called phthalate - have lower sperm motility and may, therefore, experience more difficulties conceiving children.
Phthalates is an umbrella term for a group of substances based on phthalic acid, some of which are suspected to be endocrine disruptors.
Since phthalate molecules leak out of plastics, we are exposed to it daily and absorb the chemicals through food, drink, skin contact and inhalation.
Researchers studied metabolite levels of the phthalate DEHP (diethylhexyl phthalate) in urine as an indicator of exposure, as well as the semen quality of 300 men between the ages of 18 and 20.
"The results show that the higher metabolite levels the men had, the lower their sperm motility was", said Jonatan Axelsson, researcher at department of laboratory medicine in a university statement.
Phthalate levels can be measured by a simple urine sample.
For the one quarter of the men with the lowest levels of exposure, 57 percent of the sperm cells were moving forward, compared to 46 percent for the quarter of the men with the highest levels of exposure.
Men with fertility problems often have reduced semen quality, including sperm motility, which may be caused by many different things.
The findings indicate that the more exposed one is to DEHP, the smaller the chances are of having children.
DEHP is already on the European Union's list of substances with particularly hazardous properties.