Scientists are witnessing an alarming trend: Men’s sperm counts are down, testosterone levels have plunged and erectile dysfunction is increasing. Male infertility is on the rise — and exposure to synthetic chemicals known as phthalates could be to blame, according to fertility scientist Shanna Swan, Ph.D., author of the new 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.”
Citing Swan’s book, the New York Post reported that the global fertility rate has dropped 50% between 1960 and 2016, with the U.S. birth rate 16% below where it needs to be to sustain the population.
Normal sperm counts range from 15 million sperm per milliliter to 200 million per milliliter. A rate below 15 million is considered “low” by the World Health Organization (WHO), but Swan argues that anything below 40 million creates challenges for reproduction. The average male is nearing that number at 47.1 million sperm per milliliter compared to his father who had an average of 99 million sperm per milliliter at the same age.
The cumulative effect of endocrine disruptors affect multiple generations. Patrician Hunt, a reproductive geneticist at Washington State University, conducted experiments on mice. When infant mice were exposed to disruptive chemicals for a few days their testes as adults produced fewer sperm. The mice passed on this propensity to their offspring, and after three generations of exposure, one-fifth of male mice were infertileMale Infertility Threatening ‘Future of Human Race,’ Says Author of New Book • Children’s Health Defense