Microplastics Found In Human Testicles

According to a recent study published in Toxicological Sciences by researchers from the University of New Mexico, microplastics were found in human testicles.

Microplastics Found In Human Testicles 1

You can read the original article here.

The list of places where the sneaky particles have been discovered has grown with the discovery of microplastics in the testicles of both humans and dogs.

Microplastics Found In Human Testicles 2
Not testicles. (iStock/Getty Images Plus)

According to a recent study that was published in Toxicological Sciences, microplastics are incredibly commonplace throughout the world and can enter almost every organ of the body.

When plastic is exposed to sunshine or other ultraviolet radiation, microplastics are created, and they progressively break down in landfills, the ocean, and other environments. They can also be blown by the wind and carried into waterways because they are so tiny—measured in micro-, nano-, or billionth of a meter.

Human Samples Had Triple the Microplastics

When a group of researchers from the University of New Mexico (UNM) looked at testicular tissue samples from both humans and canines, they discovered that each sample contained these little bits of plastic. The canine samples came from private veterinarian clinics that spay and neuter animals, and the human samples were provided by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator, which gathers tissues during autopsies.

At least not to this extent, the researchers were surprised to discover microplastics in the reproductive system.

“When I first received the results for dogs I was surprised,” Dr. Xiaozhong “John” Yu, a professor at the UNM College of Nursing and lead researcher, said in a press release. “I was even more surprised when I received the results for humans.

When comparing the human samples to the canine samples, the research team discovered almost three times as many microplastics. In the dog samples, there were 122.63 micrograms of microplastics per gram of tissue, but in the human samples, there were 329.44 micrograms per gram.

Twelve different forms of microplastics were discovered by the study in 23 human and 47 dog samples. Polyethylene (PE), a plastic often used to produce bottles and bags, was the most common polymer found in both kinds of tissue. PVC, which is frequently used in various plumbing applications, was the next most prevalent polymer found in dogs.

According to Dr. Yu and his colleagues, reproductive problems may be correlated with the amount of microplastics in the body. The researchers counted the sperm in the canine samples and discovered that the sperm count decreased with the amount of PVC in the tissue. The association with the amount of PE in the tissue, however, was not discovered.

“The plastic makes a difference—what type of plastic might be correlated with potential function,” Dr. Yu said. “PVC can release a lot of chemicals that interfere with spermatogenesis and it contains chemicals that cause endocrine disruption.”

Why Dogs?

Because dogs and people frequently share an environment and some biological traits, the study compared the two species.

“Compared to rats and other animals, dogs are closer to humans,” Dr. Yu said.

He pointed out that the processes by which humans and dogs generate sperm are quite similar, as is the similarity in sperm concentration between the two species.

“We believe dogs and humans share common environmental factors that contribute to their decline,” he said.

Microplastics are one of such environmental elements; they are present everywhere, even on the summit of Mount Everest.

“The impact on the younger generation might be more concerning,” Dr. Yu said, pointing to men 35 years old and younger. “We have a lot of unknowns. We need to look at the potential long-term effect [sic]. Are microplastics one of the factors contributing to this decline?”

Dr. Yu continued, saying that although he doesn’t want to frighten anyone, he believes it’s critical to educate people about the implications of their decisions.

“We want to scientifically provide the data and make people aware there are a lot of microplastics. We can make our own choices to better avoid exposures, change our lifestyle, and change our behavior,” he said.

Last year, GreatGameIndia reported a shocking study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials Advances, which revealed that recycling releases microplastics into the water supply.

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