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Common pesticides in food reducing sperm count worldwide, study says

CNN — Pesticides are contributing to a dramatic decline in sperm count among men worldwide, according to a new analysis.

“Over the course of 50 years, sperm concentration has fallen about 50% around the world,” said senior study author Melissa Perry, dean of the College of Public Health at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

“What is not known is the culprit,” Perry said. “While there are likely many more contributing causes, our study demonstrates a strong association between two common insecticides —organophosphates and N-methyl carbamates — and the decline of sperm concentration.”

One of the most frequently used compounds in the world, organophosphates are the main components of nerve gas, herbicides, pesticides and insecticides and are also used to create plastics and solvents.

“They are widely used in agriculture on the crops we eat,” Perry said. “We use them in structural applications within homes and buildings, apartment buildings, as well as for ornamental lawn upkeep.”

“Men who were more highly exposed to the pesticides, such as those who work in agriculture, had significantly less sperm concentration than men who had the least exposure.”

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N-methyl carbamates are structurally and operationally similar to organophosphates, killing insects by damaging their brains and nervous systems.

They are used to make insecticides that are applied to a “variety of field, fruit, and vegetable crops for control of beetles, borers, nematodes, weevils and similar pests,” according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As we sort of start to close the net around factors that could negatively impact fertility, these pesticides start to rise to the top,” said Dr. Alexander Pastuszak …

“There’s enough evidence to really start to say yes, these types of compounds can negatively affect fertility in men.”

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Most Heavily Sprayed Foods

DOWNTOEARTH.ORG – As consumers become more aware of the dangers associated with chemical pesticides and preservatives in produce, many are trying to adopt a more organic way of eating.

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While you may not be ready to eat exclusively organic, the next best option is to avoid those fruits and vegetables that are sprayed with pesticides more heavily than others.

To help you make the healthiest shopping decisions, we’ve compiled this list of the most pesticide-contaminated foods (based on recent reports from the Environmental Working Group and TheDailyGreen):

Peaches
Sprayed with multiple varieties of pesticides. Plus, their delicate skin makes it easy for chemicals to penetrate the skin.

Apples
Scrubbing and peeling can’t get all the pesticides off. The heavy waxing of apples also traps pesticides underneath.

Strawberries
One EWG report found 36 types of pesticides on strawberries. Out-of-season, imported strawberries are the most risky.

Grapes (especially imported varieties)
Another thin-skinned fruit, sprayed with 35 different pesticides.

Cherries
Pesticides were found on 91% of the cherries tested in the EWG study.

Nectarines
Pesticides were found on 97% of the nectarines tested.

Pears
A pears delicate skin makes it difficult to scrub thoroughly and easy for chemicals to sink in.

Red Raspberries
Their fuzzy exterior makes it difficult to wash off any of the 39 pesticides used.

Sweet Bell Peppers
Thin skinned and heavily sprayed.

Celery
The thin skin of this vegetable is sprayed with 29 varieties of pesticides.

Spinach and Lettuces
Lettuces are frequently contaminated with what are considered the most potent pesticides used on food.

Potatoes
In addition to pesticides, potatoes are contaminated with fungicides.

Tomatoes
Their soft skin is easily penetrated by contaminants …

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