A professor of environmental medicine is sounding the alarm about humanity’s rapidly declining fertility rate – and he says plastic chemicals could be responsible. Shanna Swan, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai, New York City, helped complete a large study in 2017 that found that sperm counts among men in Western countries have dropped by more than 50 percent over the past four decades according to the Guardian. Last month, she published her book, Count Down, to delve into how and why people can lose their fertility.
“People are acknowledging that we have a reproductive health crisis, but they say it’s because of delayed childbirth, choice or lifestyle – it can’t be chemical,” Swann told the Guardian. “I want people to recognize that. I am not saying that other factors are not involved. However, I am saying that chemicals play a major functional role.” In a 2017 study published in the Human Reproduction Update, researchers found that sperm density dropped from 99 million per milliliter in 1973 to 47.1 million in 2011 in New Zealand, North America and Europe.
“The fillets used to make plastics soft and pliable are of great concern,” Swann said. “They’re in everyone and we’re probably exposed to food primarily because we use soft plastics in food production, processing and packaging.” “These lower testosterone and have a stronger effect on men, for example, reducing sperm count, although they are bad for women, but also reduce libido and increase the risk during early adolescence, premature ovarian failure, miscarriage and premature birth,” she added.
Swann says the rate of fertility decline is not just a bizarre feat that can easily solve with the help of reproductive therapies such as in-vitro fertilization. It has indeed become an existential threat to humanity. In fact, he projects that the world is on track to become completely infertile by 2045. On the countdown, Swann wrote, “The current state of reproduction cannot last long without threatening human survival.
While this situation may seem daunting (and it is), there is some hope, he said, that we need the chemical industry to develop non-harmonically active chemicals for household use. In addition, those who plan to give birth to babies should be wary of the plastics they bring into their home such as Teflon, BPA and phthalates. Otherwise, children’s men may one day look more like documentaries than fictional films.