Smoking is just bad for you, period.  When it comes to sperm health, smoking has been linked to DNA damage in sperm and an increase in ROS – molecules that damage protective sperm membrane. Studies have shown that non-smokers tend to have significantly higher quality sperm than smokers.


The research is a bit hazy (pun intended), but some studies have shown excessive weed smoking has also been linked to poorer sperm health.  THC (the active chemical in marijuana) may be able to hijack your body’s endocannabinoid system and slow down spermatogenesis.  So we recommend lightening up on lighting up for now.

Other Narcotics

There’s not much research out there around the effects of harder narcotics on sperm quality (not surprising).  So for all we know heroine addicts may have the best sperm on the planet.  That’s probably not the case.  These chemicals of course can be devastating to your health and you should consult doctors, counseling, whoever you can to help you kick a life-threatening habit.

Receipt paper

Receipt paper contains Bisphenol A (BPA), a studied endocrine disruptor.  While the impact on male fertility is still being studied, frequent exposure to receipt paper, or other sources of BPA, may be slightly hazardous to your sperm quality.  Just be mindful of how much you handle receipt paper or other sources of BPA.

Agricultural Pesticides

Research shows that continued exposure to agricultural pesticides harms sperm quality, changes hormone levels and reduces testicular weight. Use proper protection in a well-ventilated area when working with pesticides.

Solvents and Cleaning Compounds

Many chemical solvents contain chemicals that are known to impact fertility. Avoid exposure to these chemicals when possible. If exposure is unavoidable, make sure to wear the right protective gear.


Solder can contain traces of lead, a chemical that has major health and fertility repercussions. When soldering, make sure that your work space is well-ventilated and wash your hands frequently.

Metal Particulates and Fumes

A link has been discovered between large amounts of exposure to heavy metal fumes and poor semen quality. Make sure to use proper protection in a well-ventilated area when working with heavy metals.

Engine Exhaust

Long term exposure to engine exhaust is linked to decreased sperm quality. If you’re going to be exposed to engine exhaust, wear a protective mask and work in a well-ventilated area.

Radiation kills cells.  This can be damaging to your reproductive health because your sperm are cells and you’re making millions of them each day.  Excessive exposure to radiation may impact your body’s ability to generate sperm cells.  Potential sources of radiation in your life include:

  • Medical scans – CAT scans, PET scans, X-rays to the groin
  • Radiation therapy – cancer treatment
  • Excessive air travel – radiation levels are higher at high elevations
  • Work involving radioactive elements
Chemotherapy attacks cancer cells as well as sperm cells. If you’re undergoing chemo and have yet to conceive, you may want to consult with your oncologist or urologist about family building options.