Chemicals in the Environment Could Be Reducing Sperm Count Significantly

The meta-analysis shows that the total sperm count in the Western world had fallen by 59% between 1973 and 2011.
Loukia Papadopoulos

A new book has been released and it issues a dire warning for the human population. The book, with the lengthy title "Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race," is detailing how sperm count has decreased in recent years at alarming rates.

The author is Mt. Sinai Medical School epidemiologist Shanna Swan and her results come from a meta-analysis conducted back in 2017.  Swan created a future curve to venture a guess as to how our fertility rates will fare.

"If you look at the curve on sperm count and project it forward — which is always risky — it reaches zero in 2045," said Swan to AXIOS. "That's a little concerning, to say the least."

Swan estimates that the total sperm count in the Western world has fallen 59% between 1973 and 2011. This may explain why global fertility rates have fallen from 5.06 in 1964 to 2.4 in 2018.

This may, however, have nothing to do with sperm count. As nations progress, their citizens tend to have fewer children naturally. As society evolves, women have longer careers and less time for offspring. There could be a host of other reasons for people having fewer kids.

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Still, according to Swan, there's no denying that chemicals play a role in decreased fertility. She calls these chemicals endocrine-disrupting and cites phthalates and bisphenol-A as a few examples. These chemicals can be found nearly everywhere including in ATM receipts.

"Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc," Swan writes.

Swan also states rising levels of obesity and other factors as some of the causes of fertility decline. What does all this mean? Be it chemicals or other elements, fertility is indeed decreasing. However, considering that we are an overpopulated planet, this may not be such a bad thing.

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