Studies in men residing in the Los Angeles area reveal that atmospheric ozone and sperm count are interrelated. Research shows that increased exposure to ozone level adversely affects the production of sperm and also hampers sperm quality. Studies conducted at the Environmental Health Perspectives throw more light on the reasons for male infertility.
Semen samples were analyzed in the study. These semen samples were collected from sperm bank donors in the Los Angeles area and they were compared with samples collected from air. The studies showed that when men were exposed increased levels of ozone in the atmosphere, the quality of semen was adversely affected. The sperm count was adversely affected right from their initial stages of production in the body.
Researchers noted that ozone exposure and sperm concentration were inversely related and also found out that sperms were susceptible to toxins through spermatogenesis. Tests were also conducted on other pollutants like carbon monoxide, fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. All of these pollutants were found to be affecting the production and density of sperm adversely. However whether ozone levels adversely affect sperms is not clear. Increased exposure to ozone may result in inflammation of the genital tract and also the development of toxic chemicals in the body that will result in decline in sperm concentration.
Studies conducted in industrial zones reveal that sperm count and quality have been adversely affected. However whether these findings are true or false is still to be proved. However the researchers agree that the decline in sperm count is very much related to the geographic location.
Experiments and research were also conducted by researcher Rebecca Z. Sokol at the Keck School of Medicine. The research showed that the high ozone levels found in the lower atmosphere is linked to lower sperm count in men and it may also lead to poor semen quality. Solol presented her report at the annual conference of the Pacific Coast Reproductive Society.
About 8,000 sperm samples (donated by 50 different men) were collected by her in the Los Angeles area for analysis in a three year period. These samples were compared with 3,500 sperm samples (collected from 35 different men) in Northern California. The purpose of the research was to check if sperm count and quality changed due to different locations. The results showed that there was not much difference whatsoever. However when the samples were tested against air quality, it was found that there was a significant reduction in sperm count and quality because of increased ozone layers in Southern California.