Prevention

Here’s the Science on Male Infertility and Environmental Toxins

A number of chemicals found in some everyday items have long been determined to be harmful to the environment. But further investigations have revealed that some of these substances also impact the health of human beings. Furthermore, these affect human fertility, especially that of males, by reducing the amount of sperm produced by their bodies and the size of their genitalia.

According to Shanna Swan of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, sperm counts in human males have fallen by almost three-fifths since 1973. The environmental and reproductive epidemiologist warned that unless the trend is reversed, males may no longer produce sperm by 2045. Swan tackles the issue in her book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.

The book is based on a study performed by Swan and her fellow researchers some years prior. The 2017 study published in Human Reproduction Update found that men from North America, Europe and Australia experienced a 50 to 60 percent decline in sperm concentration and total sperm count. While the researchers looked at studies from 1973 to 2011, they mentioned that there was no evidence of this trend leveling off in recent years. Swan and her colleagues concluded in the study that there was “a significant decline in male reproductive health … [with] serious implications beyond fertility concerns.”

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich elaborated on Swan’s point in a March 2021 op-ed for The Guardian. She quoted a number of excerpts from Swan’s book – including the fact that “the average 20-something woman in some parts of the world today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35 [years old.]” Brockovich also noted Swan’s finding that a man in the current period “will have half of the sperm his grandfather had.” Read more…

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