Overexposure to certain environmental elements such as heat, toxins and chemicals can reduce sperm production or sperm function. Specific causes include:
Industrial chemicals. Extended exposure to benzenes, toluene, xylene, pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents, painting materials and lead may contribute to low sperm counts.
Heavy metal exposure. Exposure to lead or other heavy metals also may cause infertility.
Radiation or X-rays. Exposure to radiation can reduce sperm production, though it will often eventually return to normal. With high doses of radiation, sperm production can be permanently reduced.
Overheating the testicles. Frequent use of saunas or hot tubs may temporarily lower your sperm count. Sitting for long periods, wearing tight clothing or working on a laptop computer for long stretches of time also may increase the temperature in your scrotum and slightly reduce sperm production. The type of underwear you wear is unlikely to make a significant difference in male fertility.