Have you noticed there aren’t as many males in the world anymore? Well, there isn’t. A growing body of evidence has begun to show something is wrong with the sexual health of human males.
To begin with, Sperm counts have dropped by 50% in the last 50 years worldwide. (1) On the other hand, sperm abnormalities and rates of male infertility have increased radically. Rates of testicular cancer have also doubled in the last 20 years.The question is, why?
Scientist now believe certain man made chemicals are to blame. These chemicals have been known to interfere with the male hormonal system where they wreak havoc on the building blocks of male sexual development. The problem is, they are everywhere.
60 years ago synthetic chemicals were a futuristic novelty. Since that time, the chemical industry has developed more than 90,000 man made compounds and the vast majority have never been tested for effects on human beings.
These chemicals are found in virtually every consumer product. Chemicals like Bisphenol-A make plastics hard. Other chemicals called Phthalates make plastics soft. They make cosmetics smell good and our fabrics stain resistant. Yet the question remains, is it really worth it?
For some time now scientist have expressed concerns claiming common chemicals cause profound and permanent damage in children. Now, scientist are just beginning to understand that some synthetic chemicals are far more damaging to boys. Yes, that’s right, boys. Young adult men are also at risk.
Sperm counts in college aged men have fallen dramatically in recent decades. A typical young man produces less than half the sperm his father did and up to 85% of it is abnormal.
In a fertility clinic at the University of Rochester, researchers tracked the crisis by studying the fertility of sperm. The change they discovered was sudden and alarming. Researches tested college males sperm quality and found only 30-40% of sperm donated actually qualified as donor sperm. (compared to 60-80% in 1985) (2)
The idea of chemicals effecting male fertility and reproduction is an established fact for wildlife biologists. Since the late 1980′s Dr. Louis Guillette has been researching the sexual development of male alligators who nest in the heavily polluted lakes of central Florida. (3)
Guillette has discovered that the sexual organs of the male alligators in these lakes are one-third their normal size. Their reproduction rate in the colony is 90% below average also.
“Were at a point now where we have evidence suggesting that pesticides have the ability to actually alter the development of the testes,” Guillette explained. “The abnormalities are related to low testosterone levels, the little alligators we study as males have testosterone levels of females.” The strong evidence of chemicals causing sexual abnormalities goes far beyond the study of wildlife.
The testes is a part of the male endocrine system. It is a network of glands that regulates many of the bodies functions. For example, it stimulates growth, regulates metabolism and controls reproduction.
These glands also release hormones which are known as the bodies chemical messengers. The sex hormone testosterone is a chemical messenger that plays a central role in male sexual development.
Some synthetic chemicals can disrupt or block the function of testosterone in the body, permanently damaging the sexual development of male children. This disruption of the human bodies own system may be the greatest unintended consequence of the 20th centuries chemical revolution.
The chemical industry is only 100 years old but has transformed the world.
The second world war accelerated demand for countless new products. Prescription drugs, food additives, synthetic, rubber, nylon and pesticides are just a few. By the early 1950′s the chemical industry was turning out hundreds of compounds. One product revolutionized the way we live, plastic! Yet virtually all of these new compounds were derived from one source, petroleum. Synthetic chemicals made modern life possible. At first, few suspected synthetic chemicals might be dangerous.
Pesticides like DDT were seen as innocuous, even beneficial. By the 1960′s though, our natural habitat was telling a different story as certain chemicals like PCB an dioxin devastated the environment.
Up until recently doctors believed the fetus was protected from contamination by the placental barrier, but the truth is the womb provides no such protection. For several weeks after conception the embryo is neither male nor female, sex hormones orchestrate the process. In the seventh week of pregnancy the male reproductive tract starts developing and the sad truth is, chemical exposures are likely behind a 200% increase in genital birth defects. Even after birth the infant is further exposed to chemicals in the mothers breast milk.
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