A new book called ‘Countdown’, by Shanna Swan, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, finds that sperm counts have dropped at 60% since 1973. Her research also suggests that sperm could reach zero by the year 2045 which could signal the end of humankind and end of reproduction.
It is important in this aspect to analyze the causes for such a crisis. They are namely plastic containers and food wrappers, to waterproof clothes and fragrances in cleaning products, to soaps and shampoos, to electronics and carpeting. Some of them are known as PFAS or “forever chemicals” as they do not breakdown in the environment or the human body. What these “forever chemicals” do is that they keep accumulating and leading to more doing. Indeed, it seems as if humanity has reached a breaking point.
“In some parts of the world, the average twenty’s something woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” Swan writes. In addition to that, Swan finds that, on average, a man today will have half of the sperm his grandfather had. “The current state of reproductive affairs can’t continue much longer without threatening human survival,” writes Swan, adding: “It’s a global existential crisis.” That’s not hyperbole. That’s just science. Not only that, these chemicals have also led to the reduction of penis size as well as the volume of the testes. Rather, this is a full-scale emergency for humanity.
Her research has found that PFAS harms sperm production and disrupts the male hormone which is correlated to a “reduction of semen quality, testicular volume and penile length”. It raises questions on what is being done to prevent this? For example, in the European Union has restricted several phthalates in toys and sets limits on phthalates considered “reprotoxic” – meaning they harm the human reproductive capacities – in food production, whereas in Washington, the Pollution Prevention for Future Act had been passed. The Act “directs state agencies to address classes of chemicals and moves away from a chemical by chemical approach, which has historically resulted in companies switching to equally bad or worse substitutes. The first chemical classes to be addressed in products include phthalates, PFAS, PCBs, alkyphenol ethoxylate and bisphenol compounds, and organohalogen flame retardants.”