Smog & Male Infertility

Car exhaust, factory emissions and generator fumes are omnipresent in the lives of people living in urban environments. Most people are aware of the effects on the respiratory system, and on the heart. What is often not known is that this poor air quality can have a direct effect on the reproductive system.

Many environmental health experts, as well as public health specialists, have expressed concern over the level of air pollution in many urban cities and called the attention of government and  members of the public to its attendant effects on human health.Various studies have also shown that the polluted air in towns and cities is one of the contributory factors to the escalating incidence of health problems. Researchers have also revealed that the risk in people who regularly breathe air containing a high concentration of fine particles, emitted by vehicles and factories.

There is also a mounting evidence which suggests that air pollution should be taken serious because of its attendant effects on other vital organs of the body. Fumes from generators and exhaust from cars could affect not only the heart, but also cause infertility. Exposure to airborne “particulate”, which is less than three per cent of the width of a human hair and invisible, could cause damage to human health, especially the reproductive system.

These fine particulates seen as dense clouds as they emerge from exhaust pipes trigger a cellular and biochemical process that often start in the lungs and then proceed from there into the cardiovascular system where they cause maximum damage. If car exhaust or fumes from a generator is inhaled over time, it does not only affect the heart, it could also have a devastating effect on the production of spermatozoa.

Scientists want people to be aware that infertility in men had been on the increase over the past 40 years. Many men are now becoming sterile. There is evidence pointing to environmental causes of infertility and one such cause is the exposure to car exhaust and fumes. Vehicle exhaust, when inhaled over a period of time could cause infertility. Vehicle emissions contain both high levels of lead (Pb) and toxic hydrocarbons or solvent combustion products. That is why it can affect the production of sperm cells.

in a medical journal article entitled: “Environmental Health Perspectives,” researchers observed that a compound, benzo(a) pyrene, a  common constituent of car exhaust can cause a significant reduction in fertility in test animals and fertility was further lower when the animals were exposed to BaP and lead (Pb) simultaneously.

Fumes that contain carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and even nicotine are very dangerous to health. If such gases are inhaled over a period of  time, they could affect spermatogensis. Therefore, commercial drivers, especially long distance drivers and automobile mechanics are vulnerable because they regularly inhale large quantities of carbon monoxide,  benzo chemicals  and other harmful gases.Car exhaust could damage the sperm-producing part of the male testicles called the seminiferous  tubules and also reduce ovarian weight by 33 per cent, as well as cause remarkable reduction in ovarian follicles.

Most commercial drivers, especially long distance drivers, can also experience low libido because the ambient temperature of their testes increases when they sit for long hours and in the process of traveling long distance inhale large quantities of these hazardous compounds daily.

These dangerous gases interfere with the process of spermatogenesis and thus make it difficult to produce sperm cell. It should be noted that the testes function  well at a low temperature, therefore, anything that would increase the ambient temperature around the testes should be avoided.

Given the fact that we are exposed to toxic fumes in our polluted environment is reasonable and practical to utilize preparations of biologically potent antioxidants as a potential first line of defense to support the body’s ability to produce normal sperm cells in men.