Common Household Chemicals Harming Male Fertility in Humans and Dogs: New Research

Results from a recent scientific study have revealed that common synthetic chemicals found in food, personal care and household care products are harming male fertility–in both humans and dogs.  The chemicals of concern are the phthalate DEHP and PCB-153. DEHP is a plasticizing chemical and is commonly found in flooring, carpets, furniture upholstery, toys, and clothing, among other products, and PCB-153 though banned globally, remains widely detectable in the environment and food.



There has been increasing concern over declining human male fertility in recent decades with studies showing a 50% global reduction in sperm quality in the past 80 years. A previous study by the Nottingham experts showed that sperm quality in domestic dogs has also sharply declined, raising the question of whether modern day chemicals in the home environment could be at least partly to blame.


Study overview

The researchers carried out identical experiments in both species using samples of sperm from donor men and stud dogs living in the same region of the UK. The results show that the chemicals, at concentrations relevant to environmental exposure, have the same damaging effect on sperm from both man and dog (specifically, reduced sperm motility and increased fragmentation of DNA).



Journal Reference: Rebecca N. Sumner, Mathew Tomlinson, Jim Craigon, Gary C. W. England, Richard G. Lea. Independent and combined effects of diethylhexyl phthalate and polychlorinated biphenyl 153 on sperm quality in the human and dog. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1).

Study:  DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-39913-9