The quality of semen is much poorer in farmers than in men from urban areas, and this may be due to agricultural chemicals. University of Missouri researchers say they?ve found the first evidence that semen quality varies significantly in different regions of the United States.

Fertile men from Missouri’s rural Boone County were found to have an average sperm count of about 59 million per milliliter, compared to 103 million for men in New York, 99 million in Minnesota and 81 million in Los Angeles. The sperm of the Boone County men was also less vigorous and thus less likely to fertilize a female egg. Farms make up more than half of Boone County, and most of them use chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. An earlier study from a rural area in Iowa also found lower sperm concentrations. This hasn?t been noted before because most studies of semen quality are conducted in large cities.

What?s happening on our farms?and to the food we eat? Find out from ?Eating in the Dark? by Kathleen Hart,click here.

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