Talk about a kick in the you-know-where: A new study finds that a common chemical can destroy sperm.

And you're exposed to this chemical nearly every day. In fact, there's probably far too much of it inside you right now, as you read this.

It's bisphenol A, or BPA, the hormone-like chemical used in plastics and can linings, and researchers say men exposed to it have a higher risk of problems with their contribution to the baby-making process.

In the new study, researchers examined urine and semen samples provided by 218 Chinese factory workers over a five-year period.

When compared to men with no detectable levels of BPA in their urine, the workers who had detectable levels of the chemical had a dramatically higher risk of sperm problems, including:

  • Four times the risk of a lower sperm count;
  • Triple the risk of lowered sperm concentration;
  • Triple the risk of lower sperm vitality; and
  • Double the risk of lower sperm motility.

On the bright side, BPA didn't seem to have an impact on sperm shape or volume, according to the study in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

And that's not the only bad news on BPA. Studies have also linked the estrogen-like chemical to other sexual problems, diabetes, heart disease, developmental issues and much, much more.

Despite all that, the Food and Drug Administration passed on a chance to take action on BPA earlier this year. They said they want to see more research.

But while the feds dither, others are taking action.

The Canadian government recently declared BPA to be toxic to humans and the environment, a move that will enable them to place tighter controls on the chemical, or ban it outright.

But for now, the best way to protect yourself and your sperm from BPA is by avoiding anything in a plastic container or a metal can--and that's good advice no matter where you live.

And for maximum defense for your sperm, skip the soda too. One study earlier this year out of Denmark found that young men who drank a quart of soda each day averaged 35 million sperm per milliliter of semen... while those who drank little to no soda averaged 50 million.

Since Coca-Cola says its cans are lined with BPA and they have no intent to change them, maybe there's a connection.

And for more reasons to skip soda, stay tuned later this week--I'll tell you about a frightening new link between sugar-sweetened drinks and diabetes, even among people who aren't overweight.

But for now, let's get back to saving your sperm--because for many men, it's as easy as making some careful, healthy choices. A diet rich in selenium, zinc and folic acid, or a supplement that can boost those nutrients, can help improve sperm quality and quantity.