According to an Italian study, men exposed to the chemicals used to make Teflon have a shorter and thinner penis.
The non-stick pans may be practical to cook, but they could be harmful to fertility and male sexual organs, reveals a study by the University of Padua (Italy).
Teflon stoves are made with perfluorinated compounds (PFC), which have the property of repelling water, fat and dust. However, many studies have highlighted the toxic effects of these substances on the male reproductive system. The mechanism is not yet clear, but it is thought to bind to the receptors of testosterone, which blocks their activation.
A 12% reduction in penis size
For their study, the researchers compared penis size, testes volume and sperm quality of 383 Italian men aged 16 to 22, of whom 212 live in the Padua region of north-eastern Veneto.
It is one of the four most heavily polluted PFC (perfluorinated chemicals) regions in the world, along with West Virginia in the United States, Dordrecht in the Netherlands and Shandong in China.
A river highly contaminated by runoff from a chemical plant and a water treatment plant appears to be the source of this record level of exposure. They compared these parameters with those of 171 men living in other regions in Italy.
As a result, men living in contaminated areas have a penis 12.5% shorter and 6.3% thinner than the others. And it’s not only the size of the penis that is affected the sperm are less healthy and less mobile, the volume of the testicles lower as the distance between the scrotum and the anus (which indicates a smaller development of the reproductive system).
Previous studies have already linked PFCs with other health problems, including increased cholesterol, bladder cancer and prostate cancer. They would also be toxic to fetuses and teenage males. PFCs are not only present in Teflon stoves.
They are found in many products (food packaging, paper plates, anti-stain rugs, windshield wiper fluid, waterproof clothing, glues, cosmetics …). They are absorbed via water or contaminated food, or inhaled by the vapours released by the non-stick frying pans when overheated.
Action has already been taken on PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid), one of the most common PFCs. Forbidden in France since 2015, it will be banned throughout the EU from July 2020.
” These chemicals are extremely stable and exceed the human life.”
says Andrea Di Nisio, the main author of the study.