Microplastics ‘pervasive’ in human testicles: New study

A new study found a “pervasive” presence of microplastics in human and dog testicles.

The research, published last week in the Toxicological Sciences journal, found that out of all 47 canine and 23 human testes that were examined, all had a presence of microplastics.

The findings suggest that there are potential consequences for male fertility.

Microplastic fragments have yet to be studied extensively, but researchers have found they are in many body parts.

Dr. John Yu, a toxicologist at the College of Nursing at the University of New Mexico, is the study’s lead author. He told NPR that the quantification of the microplastics is “the first step” in understanding the potential adverse effects of having microplastics “everywhere.”

Researchers at Yu’s university in New Mexico collected testicles from autopsies of people aged 16 to 88 and from nearly 50 dogs after they were neutered.

Yu said dogs were chosen as part of the experiment because they are so embedded in the human environment that they can function as “sentinel” animals for disease and chemical exposure.

Researchers dissolved the biological issue, and about 75 percent of what remained in their samples was plastic. Most of it was polyethylene, which is used in packaging, bags and many products.

At least in the dogs, there was a correlation between lower sperm count and the presence of polyvinyl chloride, which is in PVC piping.

Yu told NPR that the results were “concerning,” but he hopes it will allow for more targeted studies on the relationship between sperm and microplastics.

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