You may already know some things you can do to stay healthy, but you may not know that your health is also affected by the environment in which you live and work. Certain substances and environmental factors can cause damage to sperm or cause infertility.

Here are some tips:

  • Avoid exposure to radiation or chemotherapy agents.
  • Avoid hot environments at work or during recreation.
  • Avoid environmental toxins that you may use during hobbies or work.

Radiation and chemotherapy                

Exposure to radiation, such as from x-rays or for cancer treatment, can cause damage to sperm. Chemotherapy can also cause damage to sperm. If you have been or will be treated with radiation or chemotherapy, talk to your doctor about your options for fertility.

Hot environments                

In order for sperm to grow and develop normally, they need a cool environment. Exposure to too much heat can cause low sperm counts. To protect your sperm, avoid using saunas and do not bathe or swim in water at more than 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toxins at home

Certain hobbies involve organic solvents that can damage sperm and cause fertility problems. These include refinishing furniture, repairing cars, painting, building models, or using strippers, degreasers and non-water-based glues. Other hobbies may involve lead or other heavy metals that can damage sperm. These include pottery, making stained glass windows, or handling, shooting, or cleaning guns. 

It is important to be aware that these toxins can also be harmful to your partner and unborn child. It is necessary to minimize your partner’s contact with these materials, so be sure to use these items in an appropriate area, wash your hands thoroughly and change into clean clothes after handling these items to decrease possible accidental ingestion.Click to learn more about the risks of using certain household products.

Toxins at work

There are also chemicals and substances that you may be exposed to at work that can damage sperm. These include metals, solvents, pesticides, and other chemicals. Some substances can also cause harm to your partner before and during pregnancy. If you work with fertilizers, pesticides, or other chemicals, change your clothes and wash your hands before coming near your partner. Learn more about reducing your exposure to lead in the workplace.

You can learn about hazardous materials at your workplace by checking the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). The MSDS should be available for all of the chemicals and substances that could cause you harm at work. It provides information about the dangers of the material and tells you what to do to protect yourself, such as proper handling procedures. Follow the safety guidelines and use the right protective gear. Also, always wash your hands before eating.