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Painting and infertility in men

Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Painting and infertility in men

Question: Is it true that house paint causes infertility in men? My wife and I are trying for a baby, but with no luck so far.


Yes, paint can be a problem for wannabe dads (and mums). According to a study of over 2,000 men published in Occupational Environmental Medicine, the glycol ethers and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in house paint are responsible for a massive 250% increase in sperm motility (movement) problems. Researcher Dr Andy Povey said, "Use of glycol ethers in water-based paints can affect male fertility and our work suggests they are a significant hazard." So, before you sign up for any painting projects, choose paints without these chemicals - Volvox ( has a large range of eco-friendly paints, stains and oils, and most leading brands offer low-VOC options, such as Wattyl’s new i.d. collection. The following ideas will also encourage baby-making success.

  • Stop smoking, and avoid cigarette smoke - infertility is nearly three times higher in smokers than non-smokers.
  • Reduce your exposure to toxins: ethylene glycol (present in anti-freeze as well as paint), lead from batteries, and weed- and bug-killers may all harm sperm. Same goes for pesticides - men who eat organically grown foods have higher sperm counts than those who don't.
  • Antioxidant supplements like vitamins C and E, selenium and zinc would be good nutritional insurance, as they help detoxify your blood. Plus, I'd suggest vitamin B12, arginine and L-carnitine. Follow the manufacturer's instructions with all of them.
  • Finally - easier said than done! - reduce stress. Try relaxing through yoga or meditation. We've all heard the stories about couples who get pregnant shortly after they've adopted a child or when they've given up trying to conceive, indicating that anxiety about infertility is a big factor.

    Your say: Do you believe there is a link between painting and infertility in men? Share your opinions below...

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