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29 May 2008
Booze Builds Better Sperm
by George Atkinson

Researchers in the UK have found that men who drink alcohol regularly are more likely to have better semen quality, while men working as painters and decorators are more likely to have poor semen quality. The scientists, from the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester, made their findings after undertaking a wide-ranging study to determine the occupational risks of male infertility through chemical exposure in the workplace. The study appears in the journal Occupational Environmental Medicine.

The study shows that men who work with solvents such as glycol ether (used in water-based paints) have nearly a three-fold increased risk of having a low motile sperm count compared to men with low exposure. Men with low sperm motility frequently have problems conceiving a child.

"We know that certain glycol ethers can affect male fertility and the use of these has reduced over the past two decades. However, our results suggest that they are still a workplace hazard and that further work is needed to reduce such exposure," said molecular epidemiologist Dr. Andy Povey, from the University of Manchester. Somewhat reassuringly, the study found that apart from glycol ether, there are relatively few workplace chemical threats to male fertility.

In additional to chemical exposure, the study also looked at other non-chemical factors in the menīs lifestyle. The researchers found that men who undertook manual work were more likely to have low motile sperm counts, whereas men who drank alcohol regularly or wore boxer shorts were more likely to have better semen quality.

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Source: University of Sheffield

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