Christmas Sale Now On!
🎁View our festive offers here 🎁

🎁 Christmas Sale Now On! View our festive offers here 🎁

BLACK FRIDAY – Up to 50% Off Tests, Refills & Supplements

Sperm Health and Pesticides: A Cause for Concern?

Men’s sperm health has been on the decline for decades, with sperm counts falling by an alarming 50% worldwide. While the exact causes of this decline are still being investigated, a new study has found a strong association between exposure to certain pesticides and lower sperm concentration.

What are Pesticides?

Pesticides are chemicals used to kill pests, such as insects, rodents, and weeds. They are widely used in agriculture, on lawns and gardens, and in homes and buildings. Some pesticides are also used to control pests in stored food.

How Can Pesticides Affect Sperm Health?

Pesticides can harm sperm health in several ways. They can:

  • Interfere with hormone production: Pesticides can disrupt the production of hormones that are essential for sperm production.
  • Damage sperm cells: Pesticides can damage the DNA of sperm cells, making them less likely to fertilize an egg.
  • Reduce sperm motility: Pesticides can reduce the ability of sperm to move, making it difficult for them to reach an egg.

What Does This New Study Show Us?

Published on Wednesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the study extensively examined 25 global studies related to two chemicals, incorporating 20 of them into the meta-analysis. These studies investigated 42 different impact levels across 1,774 men in 21 distinct study populations.

According to the findings, men with higher exposure to pesticides, particularly those working in agriculture, exhibited significantly lower sperm concentrations compared to men with minimal exposure to organophosphates and N-methyl carbamates. Sperm concentration is a metric indicating the number of sperm per milliliter of semen, while sperm count encompasses the millions of sperm in the entire ejaculate. Experts highlight that sperm count, in conjunction with the total number of progressively swimming sperm in the semen, holds greater significance in predicting future fertility.

What are the Common Pesticides of Concern?

The study that found a link between pesticides and sperm health specifically looked at two types of pesticides:

  • Organophosphates: These pesticides are widely used in agriculture and are also found in some household products.
  • N-methyl carbamates: These pesticides are similar to organophosphates and are also used in agriculture and in the home.

What Can Men Do to Protect Their Sperm Health?

There are a number of things that men can do to reduce their exposure to pesticides and protect their sperm health. These include:

  • Eating a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help to boost sperm production and reduce the risk of damage from pesticides.
  • Avoiding smoking: Smoking can damage sperm cells and reduce sperm motility.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption: Alcohol can also damage sperm cells and reduce sperm motility.
  • Using organic produce: Organic produce is grown without the use of pesticides, so it is a good way to reduce exposure to these chemicals.
  • Washing fruits and vegetables: Even if you buy organic produce, it is still important to wash fruits and vegetables to remove any pesticide residue that may be present.
  • Reducing exposure to environmental toxins: Other environmental toxins, such as heavy metals and air pollution, have also been linked to sperm damage.

What Can I Do If I Am Concerned About My Sperm Health?

If you are concerned about your sperm health, you can talk to your doctor. They can order a semen analysis to measure your sperm count, motility, and morphology. If your semen analysis is abnormal, your doctor may be able to recommend treatments to improve your sperm health.

The Bottom Line

While there are a number of things that can affect sperm health, pesticides are one potential cause for concern. By taking steps to reduce your exposure to pesticides, you can help to protect your sperm health and fertility.

ExSeed sperm test

Learn more about our device

More to explore


Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.


Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.


Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.


Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.


There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  


A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.


Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.