We already know that air pollution can cause premature birth and damage the lungs of growing children – and now a study suggests that air pollution may interfere with your ability to have children.
Ahmad Hammoud of the Univesity of Utah found that fine particle pollution – which peaks in December, January, and February – causes a drop in sperm motility one to two months later. (It takes sperm between two to three months to mature.)
“Air pollution is one factor among others,” says Hammoud. “We need to figure out this relationship.” He points out that there is some evidence that chemicals in air pollution may mimic estrogen and affect the development of sperm.
Air pollution peaks during the cold weather months because of the increase in burning fuel for heat. Also, during the winter, people stay indoors more and keep their homes sealed more tightly. While these tight seals are necessary for energy efficiency, they trap pollutants inside.
Before your indoor air quality drops this winter, invest in a HEPA air cleaner, guaranteed to remove 99.97% of pollutants up to 0.3 microns. If you have a fire place or other smoke in your home, you’ll need a multi-stage filter. Burningissues.org, a site devoted to smoke safety, recommends Austin Air purifiers and Honeywell air purifiers.
In related news, another recent study found that some common SSRI antidepressants (such as Paxil and Prozac) may reduce some men’s fertility by damaging the DNA in sperm.