DDT, DDE and PCB chemicals exposure during adolescence linked to abnormal sperm in adulthood

Pesticides Exposure May Damage Sperm in Teenagers

DDT’s-long-shadow image
Men exposed to certain banned but long-lived chemicals at high levels as teenagers are more likely to have defective sperm later in life. A study of men from the Faroe Islands finds that high DDT and PCB exposure during adolescence and adulthood is associated with abnormal chromosomes in sperm. Reunion by Hans Juul Hansen.

2015 Study abstract

Background:
While it is known that sperm aneuploidy contributes to early pregnancy losses and congenital abnormalities, causes are unknown and environmental contaminants are suspected.

Objectives:
Our goal was to evaluate associations between lifetime exposure to organochlorines, specifically dichlorodiphenyldicholorethylene (p,p’-DDE) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and sperm aneuploidy in men from the general population of the Faroe Islands, a population with a known history of organochlorine exposures.

Methods:
Serum and semen samples from men (n=90) ages 22-44 participating in Faroe Islands health studies were analyzed for p,p’-DDE and PCB (118, 138, 153, and 180) and adjusted for total lipids. Cord blood and age 14 serum were available for a subgroup (n=40) and also analyzed for p,p’-DDE and PCBs. Sperm fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for chromosome X, Y, and 18 was used to determine rates of XX18, XY18, YY18 and total disomy. Multivariable adjusted Poisson models were used to estimate the relation between organochlorine exposure and sperm disomy outcomes.

Results:
Adult p,p’-DDE and total PCB serum concentrations were each associated with significantly increased rates of XX18, XY18 and total disomy. Age 14 p,p’-DDE and PCB concentrations were each associated with significantly increased rates of XX, XY and total disomy at adult age. Associations between cord blood concentrations of p,p’-DDE and PCBs and sperm disomy at adult age were not consistently significant.

Conclusions:
Organochlorine exposures measured at age 14 and in adulthood were associated with sperm disomy in this sample of high exposure men, suggesting the impacts of persistent pollutants on testicular maturation and function need deeper investigation.

Sources and more information
  • DDT’s long shadow: Long-banned chemicals linked to abnormal sperm, Environmental Health News, November 4, 2015.
  • Sperm Aneuploidy in Faroese Men with Lifetime Exposure to Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Pollutants, Environmental Health Perspectives; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1509779, 4 November 2015.

Author: DES Daughter

Activist, blogger and social media addict committed to shedding light on a global health scandal and dedicated to raise DES awareness.

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