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Sperm counts among men living in the west of Ireland have plummeted by nearly 60 per cent in just 40 years.

Dr Bart Kuczera, a consultant with Beacon CARE Fertility, has said that the results of a recent study, which has attributed this decline to environmental factors, were unsurprising.

Commenting on the results, Dr Kuczera said: “Climate change is a massive concern to the human species, but environmental pollution is of major concern to everyone’s individual health, not to mention the cost to a nation in terms of healthcare costs and its contribution to declining fertility.

He stressed that the food we eat, cosmetics we use, and even the air we breathe are enveloping us in endocrine disruptive chemicals, examples of which are the pesticides in our fruit and vegetables and disturbing levels of ‘particulate matter air pollution’ which are caused especially by traffic and industrial sites.

Dr Kuczera  continued: “Many studies focus on particular features of health, such as various types of cancer or reproductive function; declining sperm counts being a relatively easy one to measure.

“The positive correlation of such pollution on specific aspects of our reproductive or general health does not even consider the combined effects of these multi-environmental toxins and carcinogens on all the delicate systems and organs that make us function.

“If we then include the self-inflicted additional damage caused through smoking, these results really do not come as a surprise.  Indeed, the above factors must be contributing to the decline in the rate of increase of life expectancy never mind falling sperm counts”, concluded Dr Kuczera.