Exposure to chlorine may affect boys’ fertility later in life

A study conducted at the University of Louvain in Belgium has shown that boys who have spent more than 250 hours before the age of ten in an indoor chlorinated pool are three times more likely to have unusually low levels of reproductive hormones by the time they reach adolescence.

The study’s goal was to evaluate the association between testicular hormones at adolescence with the chlorination by-products at chlorinated swimming pools. Serum from 361 boys aged 14-18 years old was collected from boys who had attended swimming pools disinfected with either chlorine or copper-silver ionisation. The abnormally low levels of reproductive hormones seen in the boys who had spent over 250 hours in chlorinated pools was not seen in boys who had visited outdoor swimming pools or in pools disinfected with copper-silver ionisation. The scrotum is a highly permeable membrane, which might explain these associations.

Source: International Journal of Andrology

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First Published in October 2011

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