By Royal Ibeh
Exposure to workplace toxins have profound adverse effects on human reproduction, as they can reduce sperm counts, affect egg quality, increase miscarriage risk, and increase the risk of birth defects, studies revealed.
The studies have shown that workers, who work in the Agriculture, herbicides, Plastic production, Service station Mechanics, Taxi drivers and welding, among others, are exposed to toxins like aromatic hydrocarbons, petrochemicals, pesticides, metals, lead, ethylene dibromide that have been proven to have adverse effect on male fertility.
One of such studies, titled: “Male at Risk, Occupation and male infertility”, explains that male reproductive performance is dependent on a number of physiologic functions, all of which need to work interactively for normal reproduction to occur.
but workplace hazards may adversely affect male reproduction by upsetting the functions needed for normal male reproduction.
In an interview with the director, Nordica Fertility Centre, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, he said lifestyle factor also play a major role in male infertility, while calling on men to quit smoking (either cigarette or weed), cocaine and alcohol as they can depress sperm counts. “People who work in places like the petrochemical industry, painters and recycling company are exposed to toxic substances that can lead to male infertility,” he added.
To reverse the trend, Ajayi, at the 18th anniversary of Nordica Fertility Centre, said, “Healthy lifestyle, watching what you eat and having enough rest can help reverse the trend. Also, taking multivitamins, like vitamin C that has antioxidant can reduce the oxidants in the sperm head that are breaking down the DNA.”
The Study also recommended that it is incumbent on employers and regulators to minimize exposure to the population from those toxins where there is any evidence that they might lower fertility potential.
“Automobile fumes should be properly vented and mechanics mandated to wear protective gloves when handling degreasing agents such as trichloroethylene. Workers exposed to solvent fumes should be fitted with activated charcoal filtered masks, which reduce the concentration of toxins inhaled by these workers.
“Pesticides should not be used for cosmetic lawn care. Agricultural workers need to be warned with simple clear labelling to minimize exposure to toxins by use of protective clothing, gloves and careful application techniques, including the routine use of enclosed tractor-covered cabs, during pesticide/herbicide application.
“ Environments exposing workers to very high levels of ambient heat need to be properly ventilated or air conditioned and government leadership needs to be stringent in its interpretation of the evidence extant in favour of protecting employees from occupational toxins where evidence suggests that workers’ ability to have healthy children may be jeopardized,” it added.