According to new research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the common class of chemicals Perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs), typically used in coating of nonstick cookware, can affect the size of your penis and the quality of your sperm.
New evidence found that young men who grew up in an area where drinking water was contaminated with the chemical, had a significantly smaller sized penis and experienced less mobile sperm compared to those who were surrounded by clean drinking water.
Author Andrew Di Nisio and his colleagues conducted lab-based experiments to investigate whether two of the most common PFCs, PFOA and PFOS, would bind to the testosterone receptor and block its activation.
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“This study documents that PFCs have a substantial impact on human male health as they directly interfere with hormonal pathways potentially leading to male infertility," write the authors.
"We found that increased levels of PFCs in plasma and seminal fluid positively correlate with circulating testosterone and with a reduction of semen quality, testicular volume, penile length, and AGD [anogenital distance - a sign of abnormal reproductive development].”
“As the first report on water contamination of PFCs goes back to 1977, the magnitude of the problem is alarming as it affects an entire generation of young individuals, from 1978 onwards,” the researchers continue.
The team believe that removing the compound is difficult and the next step is figuring out how to safely remove PFCs from the blood.
The are four locations thought to be heavily polluted with PFCs: The Veneto region in Italy, the Dordrecht area in the Netherlands, the Shandong district in China and the Mid-Ohio Valley of West Virginia.
“At least here in Italy, it is very difficult to know if a product contains these chemicals,” says Di Nisio, speaking IFLScience.
“In the case of a product where it is explicitly stated 'PFOA-free', I do not feel safe anyway, because PFOA is only one of hundreds of possible PFC compounds, and they can all be dangerous... therefore it is very hard to avoid any contact with any PFC.”