New research out of Italy has found that PFAs - a chemical contaminant found at several locations around Michigan- could affect fertility and genital size in men.
Italian researchers compared young men in a region of Italy that has seen high levels of PFAs contamination since the 1970s with similar men from outside that region.
Research into PFAs, or perfluoroalkyl substances, has already linked the chemical to cancer and other health problems in humans.
Andrea Di Nisio is the studies lead author. He said the chemical blocks the body's testosterone receptors.
“Effectively PFAs reduces by up to 40% of androgen receptor activity.”
Di Nisio said the exposed group saw statistically significant reductions in semen quality and genital size.
He said it was important to understand the impact of PFAs on the male body.
“They last longer within the male body than female body.”
Research has already shown that PFAs can get into babies through their mother's umbilical cord.
Di Nisio said his research shows PFAs may have long-term reproductive impacts.
Across the impacted region in Italy PFAs levels were as high as 7,000 parts per trillion.
Michigan’s health advisory level for PFAs in drinking water is set at 70 parts per trillion.