Headed to the Fertility Clinic? Sunscreen may be to blame

Men who use sunscreen may be at increased risk for infertility. A study by the New York Health Department and National Institutes of Health reveals that two of the chemicals commonly used in sunscreen can impair the body’s production of hormones and endocrine system processes.

According to the study, men with high exposure to UV filters BP-2 or 4OH-BP experienced a 30-percent reduction in fertility.

As part of the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) study, more than 500 couples in 16 counties in Michigan and Texas were followed.

None of those studied had an actual medical diagnosis of infertility. Scientists followed the couples until they were able to conceive or for up to a year. Subsequently, urine samples were tested to identify concentrations of five UV filters that could be responsible for disrupting endocrine activity.

Scientists found that some, but not all, filters reduced fertility in men. While woman had a greater exposure to UV filters overall, they did not experience decreased fertility.

“In our study, male fecundity seems to be more susceptible to these chemicals than female fecundity,” said Germaine Louis, Ph.D., director of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “Our next step is to figure out how these particular chemicals may be affecting couple fecundity or time to pregnancy—whether it’s by diminishing sperm quality or inhibiting reproduction some other way.”

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