10 Workplace Hazards That Cause Fertility Problems

Ever wonder what extra steps you can take to maximize your fertility? Do you know you’re doing everything right and yet nothing seems to work? Your mental health, physical health, and, yes, your reproductive health, are affected by every moment in your life and every choice that you make—and that includes your workplace. Is it possible that sitting at your desk could cause your sperm count to drop? What about those fumes in the air, or the over-night shifts?

Here we explain the top 10 most common workplace hazards for your reproductive system.

1. Heat

Exposure to excessive heat for long periods of time can have a detrimental impact on sperm production and semen quality. Try to avoid an overly hot workplace. In the meantime, check out a testicle cooling device to help your sperm stay healthy. (For more information, check out our recent blog post, “Are Sperm Counts Really Lower in the Summer?”)

Jobs at risk: landscapers, lifeguards, lawn mowers, farmers, botanists

2. Solvents

Men who work with organic solvents are at risk of coming into contact with compounds found to impact fertility. We know that it’s impossible to avoid these at all costs—in the end, you have to do your job! Just make sure to wear the right protective gear. Keep the chemicals off your skin, out of your nose, and out of your bloodstream.

Jobs at risk: printers, painters, window washers, house cleaners

3. Pesticides

Regular exposure to agricultural pesticides can change your testosterone level, harm your sperm quality, and reduce your testicular weight. Make sure to use the right kind of external protection and work in a well-ventilated workplace any time you are exposed to pesticides.

Jobs at risk: farmers, gardeners, landscapers, golf course workers

4. Air quality

Many different types of workers are at risk of breathing poor quality air. Guys who work with cars or engines are frequently exposed to exhaust—which is linked directly to decreased sperm quality. If this is you, wear a protective mask and work in a well-ventilated area. But hey, office workers aren’t off the hook: take a few minutes every day to get outside and breathe in some fresh air instead of your stuffy office workplace.

Jobs at risk: auto body technicians, car detailers, miners, tire technicians, bus drivers

5. Laptops

We all know that technology is the key to the future, but for some people, laptops are most certainly not the key to having future children. Laptop heat, especially when you keep your laptop on your lap, can raise your scrotal temperature several degrees. This can dramatically impair your sperm production. Put your laptop on your desk—isn’t that what it’s for? In the meantime, consider using a testicular cooling device to help your sperm heal.

Jobs at risk: office workers, consultants, photographers, programmers, students

6. Receipt Paper

Wait—what? No way! We all keep receipts in our pockets at some point or another. By handling receipt paper consistently, though, you are exposing your testicles to a chemical called bisphenol-A, more commonly known as BPA. BPA is known to cause not only a reduced sex drive and erectile dysfunction but also more serious diseases such as cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer. Some solutions to this include wearing gloves, washing your hands often, and keeping the receipts out of your pocket.

Jobs at risk: secretaries, accountants, salespeople, cashiers

7. Soldering

One of the most dangerous chemicals for your testicles is lead, which is present in solder. Lead can lead to major heath and fertility problems. When soldering, make sure that you are in a well-ventilated workplace and that you wash your hands frequently—especially before touching your testicle region.

Jobs at risk: welders, construction workers, electronics manufacturers, plumbers, auto repairers

8.  Heavy Metal Exposure

Other heavy metals besides lead are also dangerous for your scrotal area (go figure!). Scientists found a link between large amounts of exposure to heavy metal and heavy metal fumes and poor semen quality. Make sure to take proper protection in a well-ventilated area when at risk for high exposure—you know the drill at this point.

Jobs at risk: welders, miners, recyclers, manufacturers

9. Sitting

One of the most important health concerns for your overall body is the maintenance of the cardiovascular system. One of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular health is to get up and move.  Sitting for long periods of time is not only bad for your heart, but it can also raise your scrotal temperature and impair sperm production. Tip: get up and move at least once an hour! You’ll feel better and so will your sperm.

Jobs at risk: office workers, truck drivers, writers, software developers

10. Stress

No matter what your occupation, stress is one of the biggest sperm killers out there. Minor stress every now and then, no big deal. But if you are starting to feel stressed all the time, there’s no shame in looking for help. We have all been there at one point or another. Consider seeking professional counseling, or trying meditation, exercise, or deep breathing. Your body, your mind, and your loved ones will thank you.

Jobs at risk: everyone!


If you’re interested in personalized recommendations about your fertility (including whether or not you’re at risk at work), take Trak’s free Male Fertility Assessment.