Investigation of the effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances on reproductive health in the fire-fighting environment (INFERNO)

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Project Identification
Project Period
9/2021 - 8/2023
Investor / Pogramme / Project type
European Union
MU Faculty or unit
Faculty of Science

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and various consumer products around the world. Human exposure to PFASs is of great public health interest, because of their potential toxicity and cumulative behavior in human body. One of the most heavily exposed populations are industrial workers and firefighters. There are documented associations between firefighters’ exposure and certain types of negative health outcome including male infertility. However, it still remains unclear whether in general male infertility is associated with occupational or environmental exposure to these compounds. This study aims to investigate the influence of PFASs on male reproductive health. Within the project we will perform sampling and analysis of blood and semen in group of newly recruited firefighters before and after their first exposure to PFASs containing aqueous film-forming foams used for the suppression of hydrocarbon-based fires. We will monitor the concentration levels and accumulation behavior of PFASs in blood and establish associations with semen parameters (sperm motility, concentration, morphology). Additionally in order to better understand PFASs’ mode of action we will set up cell culture experiments with testicular Leidig cells. The proposed interdisciplinary study is a major step in elucidating the role of PFASs in male infertility.

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