by Katie E. Boyle, MPH
What if I said that your son's use of colognes or body sprays could affect his sperm quality and fertility later in life? Based on research done in animals so far, Boyle's Naturals (BN) and many in the scientific community argue this theory is truth. As such, BN wants to increase consumer awareness about the facts and dangers of chemicals in these popular body sprays. Here, we provide evidence for the recommendation to steer clear of conventional fragrance brands and seek out natural alternatives.
Humans are a species with regular environmental exposure to chemicals incompatible with healthy body function and fetal development. Here are some facts.
Hormones control spermatogenesis (sperm production). Conventional fragrance products contain phthalates (thal-ates) also known as "hormone-disrupting" or "endocrine-disrupting" chemicals (EDCs). Research in male animals has shown a clear link between exposure to high doses of phthalates and decline in semen quality, count and motility. In developing male fetuses, the mother’s exposure was associated with abnormalities in fetal skeletal and reproductive systems.(1-5)
While we humans never get the equivalent exposure administered to these animals, we do know that human exposure to phthalates is ubiquitous. And we do know that phthalates are around us in a long list of things we live with and use daily, such as personal care products, clothing, cosmetics, furniture, children’s toys, building materials, medical devices, food packaging, supplements, cleaning products, pesticides and more.(6) And we do know is that three million metric tonnes of phthalates are produced annually (Bizzari, S., et al. 2000 as reported in 6).
The precautionary principle in public health states that the absence of definitive data linking a suspected risk to a particular outcome should never delay taking action to mitigate the risk. This necessary action can be legislative, community-wide or in our own homes.
Using the precautionary principal wouldn’t it make sense to stop using these products? And use no or natural fragrances instead? We are lacking in definitive proof because we haven’t and can’t directly expose humans to chemicals and tally up our daily exposures. Our levels of exposure to damaging phthalates are greater than we think, and increasing rates of infertility are very likely the result.
Our levels of exposure to damaging phthalates are greater than we think, and increasing rates of infertility are very likely the result.
So, staying on the males, human males exposed during all his life stages - the developing fetus, infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood - may be seeing varying types and degrees of reproductive effects, all of which directly negatively affect his fertility.
BN's recommendation is to cease buying non-natural fragrance products, body sprays and perfumes. Doing that will reduce your exposures to phthalates, and take your name off the list of reasons why companies produce three million metric tonnes of phthalates annually.
If the list of things containing phthalates seems overwhelming (it is), don’t fret. We have nothing to lose by taking stock of the products we use in our home, starting with one product. Do some research and switch it out for a more natural version. Search “natural organic perfume” and you'll find a lot of options out there. Or email BN for a suggestion. Remove one toxic product at a time from your home and you’ll be reducing your family’s exposures to harmful chemicals over time. And that's a definitive fact.
If you are concerned about the info here, search “endocrine disruptors' effect on male reproductive system,” to read about it more and/or discuss with your doctor. You may also request a full, customized report on the status of the research done to date by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Boyle's Naturals' educational content is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you have about a medical condition. This article presents BN staff's educated opinion based on published research we have reviewed. This is not a full literature review of absolutely everything published on this topic.
Development of this content is funded by sales of Boyle’s Naturals’ products. So when you make a purchase, you are helping to bring educational posts like these into existence. Support our work at BoylesNaturals.com/shop.
Research cited and more information:
1. CDC Factsheet on phthalates:
2. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry factsheet on Di-n-butyl Phthalate: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=857&tid=167
3. Rehman S., et al. (2018). Endocrine disrupting chemicals and impact on male reproductive health. Transl Androl Urol. 7(3), pp.490–503, doi:# 10.21037/tau.2018.05.17.
4. Rahman E., et al. (2015). A review on endocrine disruptors and their possible impacts on human health. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology. 40(1), pp.241-258. doi:# 10.1016/j.etap.2015.06.009
5. Slama R., et al. (2017). Characterizing the effect of endocrine disruptors on human health: The role of epidemiological cohorts. C. R. Biologies. 340, pp. 421–431. doi:#10.1016/j.crvi.2017.07.008.
6. Schettler T. (2005) Human exposure to phthalates via consumer products. International journal of andrology ISSN 0105-6263. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2605.2005.00567.x and Bizzari, S., Oppenberg, B. & Iskikawa, Y. (2000) Plasticizers. Chemical Economics Handbook. SRI International, Palo Alto, CA, USA.