Introduction: Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) are exogenous substances altering function(s) of the endocrine system. EDCs have been implicated in the decline in male reproductive health. We aimed to systematically review the pathophysiological effects of EDCs on male reproductive health.
Methods: Searches of EMBASE, MEDLINE and PubMed were conducted using the following terms: endocrine disrupt* OR endocrine disruptors OR endocrine disruptor chemicals AND men (male in EMBASE) AND sperm* OR spermatozoa. Thirty human studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria.
Results: Bisphenol A (BPA) found in plastics, was negatively associated with semen motility, morphology and positively associated with sperm DNA fragmentation. Men with higher urinary insecticide levels were observed to have increasing incidence rate of sperm sex chromosome disomy. Higher median levels of arsenic metabolites and phthalate metabolites were associated with below WHO reference sperm concentration and sperm motility. Exposure to p,p-DDE was related to an increased risk of cryptorchidism, hypospadias, low sperm count and testicular cancer.
Discussion: Evidence suggests that a growing number of EDCs adversely affect sperm quality and reproductive health in men. The full, transgenerational effects of these chemicals need to be investigated to determine the potential cumulative adverse effects of EDCs on male reproductive health in successive generations. Some countries have already established regulations to remove EDCs from everyday products. These results warrant the use of alternatives to EDCs.