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Fracking chemicals tied to reduced sperm count in mice

Washington, DC–Prenatal exposure to a mixture of chemicals used in the oil and natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at levels found in the environment lowered sperm counts in male mice when they reached adulthood, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s journal Endocrinology.

The scientists tested 24 chemicals used in fracking and determined that 23 of them were endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs. EDCs mimic, block or otherwise interfere with hormones, the body’s chemical messengers that act through receptors to regulate the activity of cells and biological processes such as metabolism, reproduction, growth, and digestion. Specifically, these 24 chemicals alone and in mixtures were tested for their ability to activate or inhibit action of the estrogen, androgen, progesterone, glucocorticoid and thyroid receptors using a human cell-based assay.

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