Environmental Toxins and Male Fertility

Curr Urol Rep. 2018 May 17;19(7):50. doi: 10.1007/s11934-018-0804-1.


Purpose of review: Global industrialization has increased population exposure to environmental toxins. A global decline in sperm quality over the last few decades raises questions about the adverse impact of environmental toxins on male reproductive health.

Recent findings: Multiple animal- and human-based studies on exposure to environmental toxins suggest a negative impact on semen quality, in terms of sperm concentration, motility, and/or morphology. These toxins may exert estrogenic and/or anti-androgenic effects, which in turn alter the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (HPGA), induce sperm DNA damage, or cause sperm epigenetic changes. This chapter will discuss the most recent literature about the most common environmental toxins and their impact on spermatogenesis and its consequences on male fertility. Understanding the presence and underlying mechanism of these toxins will help us preserve the integrity of the male reproduction system and formulate better regulations against their indiscriminate use.

Keywords: Endocrine disrupting chemicals; Environment; Environmental toxins; Male infertility; Sperm; Thermotoxicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Hazardous Substances / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / etiology*
  • Male
  • Semen Analysis
  • Sperm Count
  • Spermatogenesis


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hazardous Substances