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Pollution Endangers Reproductive Health: Experts

Aspermia and deteriorating sperm quality have disqualified 80 percent of volunteer donors to the recently launched Shanghai Human Sperm Bank, according to experts.

Prof. Wang Yixin, in charge of the Sperm Bank, warned that worsening male reproductive health has become a noticeable problem in China.

Over 85 percent of the 700 volunteer sperms donors are university students. However, most of them have so far produced sperm falling short of the Bank's requirements.

Experts blamed environmental pollution for this, as well as factors such as inadequate diet and psychological pressure.

Gao Ersheng, a reproduction expert, said that there are now some six million chemicals infesting the Earth. Some 60,000 to 70, 000 of them are connected with human life, which are increasing at an annual rate of some three percent.

Statistics show that 20 percent of the chemicals connected with human life carry reproductive toxins.

Although Shanghai has earmarked some 60 billion yuan (about US$7.3 billion) to alleviate environmental pollution over the past ten years, the metropolis is still facing many problems in its efforts to protect the environment.

People are exposed to endocrine pollutants contained in vehicle exhaust gas, water and other mediums. These pollutants are absorbed into the body by eating, drinking, breathing and physical contact, according to the experts.

Male sterility, fetal pathological changes and deteriorating immune functions are some of the typical health problems caused by environmental pollution.

According to the experts, cases of mammary and uterine cancers have increased by 50 and 76 percent, respectively, in Shanghai over the past 20 years. They also link a marked rise in teenage obesity and sexual immaturity to pollution.

(People's Daily 04/24/2001)

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