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For the record

"The hidden perils from fruit and veg" Image

"The hidden perils from fruit and veg"

An article in The Daily Telegraph (print), The Sun (print) and The Guardian on Tuesday 31st March reported on a study linking pesticides on fruit and vegetables with low semen quality and sperm count. The study was published in Human Reproduction.

The Daily Telegraph article stated "scientists have warned that pesticides could be damaging sperm counts and have suggested that men should switch to organic produce if they want children".  In fact, the study did not measure pesticides in the food eaten.

Allan Pacey, Professor of Andrology, University of Sheffield:

“Whilst the results are tantalising, they should be interpreted with caution as the study is not without its flaws and limitations. This is not a criticism of the authors because this kind of work is challenging, but as they acknowledge themselves they did not measure the pesticide residues in the actual food the men ate but rather inferred this from other data. Also, this is an observational study and on the basis of the data in the paper, we cannot discount that it is another aspect of the men’s diet or lifestyle that is actually the cause of the effects seen. 

There is also no evidence at present that switching to organic fruit and vegetables will improve semen quality.”

More scientists have commented on this study here

Document type: For The Record

Published: 31 March 2015

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