Consumption of fruits and vegetables that contain relatively large amounts of pesticide residue may affect men’s sperm counts and the number of normal-looking sperm they produce, a potential factor in fertility problems, Harvard University researchers reported Monday.
The study by researchers at the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, described as the first to link pesticides in fruits and vegetables to reproductive problems, leaves many questions unanswered. Because of the study’s design, the researchers could not determine whether the pesticide residue caused the problems they found in the sperm of 155 men who provided samples at a fertility clinic.
But the results were clear enough to “suggest that exposure to pesticides used in agricultural production through diet may be sufficient to affect spermatogenesis in humans,” the researchers wrote in their paper, published online in the journal Human Reproduction.