WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Young men who drink PFC-contaminated water have reduced sperm quality and penises reduced in size, according to a research in Italy.
- Study findings say that the chemicals found in nonstick pans and grease repellent surfaces called PFCs may potentially cause male infertility.
- There are 4 known locations in the world that are heavily contaminated with PFCs, one of which is the Padua province from which the study was conducted.
A team of researchers from the University of Padua, Italy discovered young men exposed to water contaminated with a chemical found in nonstick pans, have smaller penises and reduced sperm mobility.
Perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) make up the nonstick coating on cookware, supply the water-oil and stain repellant surfaces for carpets and fabrics, and employed in grease-repellant packaging.
They are composed of chemicals with unique atomic properties and is said to be among the many ‘miracle’ chemicals that make everyday products convenient. Yet, mounting evidence has established that PFCs may impact the human reproductive system.
Using a string of lab-based cellular experiments, lead author Andrea Di Nisio and his team discovered proof that the compounds PFOA and PFOS, the two most common PFCs, will readily attach to the testosterone receptor and impede its activation.
“We found that increased levels of PFCs in plasma and seminal fluid positively correlate with circulating testosterone and with a reduction of semen quality, testicular volume, penile length, and anogenital distance (AGD),” the researchers wrote.
Reduced AGD marks an abnormal development in the male reproductive tract.
The province of Padua in the Venetto region is one among the four places in the world confirmed to be heavily polluted with PFCs. Other locations include Netherlands’s Dordrecht area, the Shandong district in China, and the Mid-Ohio Valley in West Virginia.
Since the first water contamination report in 1977, the researchers noted that the problem has become even worse because an entire generation of young individuals from 1978 onwards is possibly affected. Even worse is the fact that scientists believe that these extremely stable chemicals will outlive human life.
Di Nisio told IFLScience that in Italy, it is very difficult to determine if products are “’PFOA-free’. But even if these products are, still, he doesn’t feel safe.
“PFOA is only one of the hundreds of possible PFC compounds, and they are all dangerous and very hard to avoid contact with,” added Di Nisio.
To keep ourselves safe, Di Nisio contends that the next step is studying how to safely remove PCFs from the blood. So until we are able to achieve that and until PFCs are totally phased out, the outlook remains far from sunny.
Source: IFL Science