Common Pesticides in Food Reducing Sperm Count Worldwide

How can we explain the decline in sperm counts over the last fifty years? Environmental factors (endocrine disruptors, pesticides, radiation) are one possibility.


Endocrine disruptors, pesticides, and radiation are just a few environmental factors that can explain the decline in sperm count over the past fifty years. A meta-analysis indicates a strong association between this decline and insecticides such as the controversial glyphosate.

Scientific studies demonstrate that sperm quality and concentration decrease over time. A recent study revealed a 51% drop in the average sperm count of participants (who were not infertile) over a 45-year period, from 1973 to 2018. This phenomenon is likely multifactorial, with air pollution and increased mobile phone usage being among the implicated factors.

Beware of Glyphosate

A recent analysis of 25 studies published in Environmental Health Perspectives reveals a correlation between exposure to insecticides and a decline in sperm concentration in adult men worldwide. Specifically, Italian and American researchers examined data from 1,774 men across 21 populations on four continents (Asia, North America, South America, and Europe). These men were exposed to organophosphates, including glyphosate and N-methylcarbamates, primarily through the consumption of contaminated water and food.

The researchers observed that this association strengthened when considering two modifying factors: exposure to other reproductive toxins and medical risk factors associated with low sperm concentration. Melissa Perry, an epidemiologist and microbiologist at George Mason University in the United States and the lead author of the study, cautioned, “The evidence available has reached a point that we must take regulatory action to reduce insecticide exposure.