Prof. Suleiman Ambali of the Department of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Ilorin, has warned that continuous exposure of humans to pesticides causes a decline in male sperm count.
Ambali disclosed this on Thursday night in his paper presentation at the 192nd Inaugural Lecture of the University, entitled: “Preventing pesticides from poisoning away our health and future – the oxidative approach”.
The don, who teaches in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the university, warned that there was evidence that human species was approaching a fertility crisis based on trends in male reproductive health.
He said based on the troubling data from laboratory, clinical epidemiology studies, it was obvious that the world would witness fertility crisis.
Corroborating his reports, he explained that some Danish scientists’ research had also indicated that sperm counts of men have declined by about 50 per cent since 1940 worldwide.
“The researchers analysed the result of sperm counts between 1938 and 1991. Since then several other studies have confirmed the decline.
“Environmental causes including pesticides especially those that cause endocrine changes in fetal and pre-puberty life prior to birth or during childhood or during breastfeeding are involved in the decline of semen quality,” he said.
According to him, the effect of chemical pesticides on ‘birth sex’ is in favour of more females than males.
He explained that this trend was worrisome as human activities continue to change the natural demography in favour of women, as a lesser number of male births occur.
Ambali said that the use of pesticides by people had led to a reduction in the quantity and quality of food available.
The expert in Toxicology who quoted WHO said about three million workers in agriculture in the developing world experience pesticide poisoning annually with about 18,000 deaths.
He also disclosed that there were estimated 250,000 deaths annually from pesticide self-poisoning worldwide, accounting for about 30 per cent of the suicide rates globally.