A new study just found some pretty horrifying news, something none of us can control. It looks like fossil fuels and chemical pollution are taking a toll on global sperm count, decreasing fertility rates worldwide.
The study was published in the journal Nature Reviews Endrocrinology and said that many industrialized regions are falling short of their required levels to “sustain their populations,” meaning sperm count is so low that the population could dramatically decline in the following years.
The researchers found that a few issues linked to reproductive health include increased exposure to chemicals from fossil fuels and pollution from plastics and industrial chemicals. It’s sort of uncanny how these decreased fertility rates just happened to appear when the world’s population is at its highest, 7.7 billion.
Furthermore, the researchers note that decreased birth rates began to show at the same time when industrialization started burning fossil fuels on a never-before-seen scale. Professor Andreas Kortenkamp at Brunel University London told Medical Xpress that we are in urgent need of examining the “contribution of simultaneous exposures to cocktails of chemicals to reproductive disorders.”
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He added that this male fertility crisis means families have to suffer in silence because they’re not aware of why they cannot conceive a child. Kortenkamp continues that defining preventable causes like chemical exposure is key to reducing this crisis.
In majorly industrialized regions, fossil fuels have been discovered in individuals’ semen, blood, urine, fatty tissue, and breast milk. These fossil fuels horribly affect hormonal balances and reproductive health because they disrupt the endocrine system that keeps our body’s hormones intact through the circulatory system.
Study lead Professor Niels Skakkebæk at the University of Copenhagen said his team has done “numerous animal studies” showing how plastics and chemicals are directly causing fertility issues in animals, which is a huge topic of concern for the global population.
We’re truly just peeling back the first layer of this issue, as the Center for Pollution Research and Policy at Brunel is currently conducting its first test regarding how much chemical exposure is directly linked to the decline in sperm count. This analysis will help clarify which chemicals are the most dangerous, hoping that industrialized countries and regions will take note and reduce chemical exposure.
Professor Kortenkamp compares this chemical exposure news to being on the “cliff’s edge.” Because the majority of chemicals scientists are concerned with come from plastic production and burning plastic in waste incinerators, maybe we can finally start heading to the plastic-less world we’ve been dreaming of.
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