Scientists Are Concerned About Declining Sperm Quality and Numbers

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Scientists around the globe are documenting an alarming decrease in human sperm numbers and quality. Some say up to 90 percent of a typical young man’s sperm can be misshapen, and unable to swim a straight line toward its target.

Studies suggest this sperm quality decline is owed to chemical endocrine disrupters found in many cosmetics, plastics, sofas, pesticides and other products. Endocrine disrupters are like wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are chemicals that act like hormones once inside the body, and alter the balance and functioning of our actual hormones.

Whether humanity has a fertility crisis on the horizon remains a matter of debate, but some researchers are concerned about our ability to sustain ourselves. For instance, a recent Chinese study found that in the Hunan Province, in 2015, only 18 percent of sperm donor applicants were qualified, or had adequate sperm. Just 15 years earlier, in 2001, 56 percent of the applicants were qualified. The study involved 30,000 men.

The sperm issue seems to originate in utero where hormones drive the development of males and females. When some Canadian scientists tested the impact of endocrine disrupters on Lake Ontario’s fathead minnows, they found the chemicals had a devastating effect on the males. Many were born with characteristics of both sexes, and could not reproduce.

The problem with our sperm is “…most likely a reflection of the fact that many environmental and lifestyle changes over the past 50 years are inherently detrimental to sperm production,” said Professor Richard Sharpe, fertility research expert at the UK’s Medical Research Council. “It may be that different factors come together to have a combined effect.”

Those so inclined can protect themselves by avoiding plastics when possible, such as not eating food that has been wrapped or heated in plastic. Consuming organic foods reduces our ingestion of GMOs, and pesticide residue, and we can check the labels of our household and personal care products for common endocrine disrupters such as BPA, phthalates, fire retardants, PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals), and glycol ethers.

Sources: Health Freedoms; Fertility and Sterility; EWG; Independent; Physiological Reviews
Photo credit: AndreaLaurel


 
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