Headlines: Pesticides on fruit and veg ‘are wrecking men’s fertility

Source: Mail Online

Pesticides found on fruit and vegetables could be doing untold damage to male fertility, research suggests.

Thirty of 37 crop chemicals tested interfered with the action of testosterone, the sex hormone critical to a healthy male reproductive system.

Worryingly, 16 of the 30 had not previously been linked with hormone disruption.

Environmental campaigners say the effects could be particularly severe in the womb, with lack of testosterone feminising unborn boys, raising their odds of reproductive defects at birth and low sperm counts and testicular cancer in later life.

The European Commission-funded research was carried out on cells in a lab. The British scientists behind the work say they cannot be sure that humans would be similarly affected, but more extensive testing is urgently needed. The study from the University of London’s School of Pharmacy focused on pesticides widely used in Europe.

Many are fungicides which are sprayed on strawberries, lettuce, grapes and other fruit and vegetables close to harvest, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives reports.

They are not, however, contained in preparations used non-commercially in gardens and on allotments. Pesticide manufacturers say theirs is the most tightly-regulated sector of the chemical industry.

But researcher Professor Andreas Kortenkamp said that while manufacturers may follow the law to the letter, the law does not require pesticides to be tested for their effects on hormones.

He said: ‘There is a lot of testing but this hormonal activity falls behind the sofa.
‘We need a two-pronged approach. We need the chemical companies to take this a little bit more seriously but we also need to appeal to the EU regulators to make the tests mandatory.’

Pesticides have also been blamed for a host of ills from incurable brain conditions such as Parkinson’s disease to stunting the intelligence of the unborn child.

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