Male fertility decline has been happening ever since the 50s. So much so that the WHO (World Health Organization) had to lower the values for normal sperm count levels as otherwise most men would test infertile today.
Scientists have been studying the negative effects of phthalates such as DEHP and DBP for over twenty years. They found that these toxins are powerful reproductive and developmental toxicants. Which can contribute to a long list of birth defects and infertility. This applies in particular to male fertility.
According to Jane Houlihan from the Environmental Working Group the “FDA has taken no action to reduce the use of phthalates in cosmetics, drugs, and food packaging, despite mounting evidence showing that some people are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of phthalates.”
Researchers are linking male fertility decline and the following male fertility problems to reproductive toxins found in everyday products:
The Toxic Trio
Scientists isolated three phthalates in particular which have been found to add to male fertility decline and harm the male reproductive system. They are:
The most disturbing part is the lack of labeling. None of the well know 52 phthalate containing products tested in the lab listed the individual phthalates on their ingredient list.
Europe vs USA
Even though the cosmetics industry is largely unregulated European Union seems to have stricter laws than the US. This gap allows companies to reformulate their products for sale outside the EU. Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for safe Cosmetics – a consumer watchdog group lobbied Estee Lauder and other firms to meet the higher EU standards for the products they ship to the US. This is the reply she got:
“Europe is nuts. These products are fine. Don’t worry your pretty little head”.
I personally use and recommend certified organic cosmetics and personal care products which will not add to male fertility decline. I also made sure over 7 years ago that my husband too doesn’t use any phthalate containing products.
For even more information about male fertility decline and the negative effects of chemicals and endocrine disruptors on male fertility and female fertility see this article.
Share your thoughts with me! What is your take on phthalates and male fertility decline? Is your husband using commercial personal care products or is he informed about the dangers?
Houlihan J et al. Not Too Pretty: Phthalates, Beauty Products & the FDA. 2002. Environmental Working Group.
Mazzocchi S. What’s in your makeup?! New video by Annie Leonard shows the ‘toxic’ side of some cosmetics. 2010 July 22. NY Daily News.
Iva Keene is co-founder and director of Natural-Fertility-Prescription.com. She has been a qualified, accredited Naturopathic Physician for over 13 years, holds a Bachelor's degree in Health Science and a Masters degree in Reproductive Medicine. Since founding NFP in 2008, Iva's articles, videos, guides and reports have reached over 1.3 million people. Iva has dedicated her professional life to supporting couples on their path to parenthood with scientifically grounded information, protocols and coaching around preconception care, natural infertility treatments and integrative reproductive health.