A recent study has found that high exposure to parabens found in personal care products can be detrimental to a man’s sperm quality, leading to possible infertility.

The study, which reviewed 315 male patients at a fertility clinic in Poland using urine, saliva, blood and semen samples, found that men with higher levels of parabens in their system had a higher proportion of ‘abnormal morphology’ – sperm of an unusual size or shape.     

Lead study author Joanna Jurewicz of the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine in Lodz, said in an email to Reuters, “We have observed an impact of parabens on semen quality. To avoid parabens is very difficult because they are widespread, but we can try to minimize the exposure by only using personal care products with label information saying that there are no parabens in the particular product.”

The most detrimental paraben was found to be butyl paraben, which was related to an increase in sperm that was an abnormal and shape alongside a fall in sperm mobility. Meanwhile ethyl paraben was also associated with abnormal shaped sperm.  

Higher levels of parabens in urine was also linked to DNA damage in the sperm, raising concerns of infertility due to the decreased mobility making it harder for the sperm to reach the egg.