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While we all knew toxic chemicals and plastic were bad for the environment, it turns out it’s affecting humans on a much more personal level.
Scientists believe pollution is shrinking the size of penises, as well as lowering sperm count and fertility in women.
Dr Shanna H. Swan, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist, explained the worrying findings in her latest 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.
Dr Swan co-authored a 2017 study into trends in sperm count, and noted it fell dramatically between 1973 and 2011.
Now her latest book explores these declining rates, alongside reproductive health and shrinking genitalia.
“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the book.
“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35.”
Her latest research also revealed that chemicals and pollution is seeing the volume of testes reduce, along with penis size and the quality of sperm, Vice reported.
One of the biggest culprits is phthalates, a chemical found in everything from make-up to food, which is thought to affect fertility and even cause a reduced sex drive.
Chatting to The Intercept, Dr Swan said: “We found a relationship between women’s phthalate levels and their sexual satisfaction.”
Along with phthalates, parabens, atrazine and BPAs – bisphenol A – were also wreaking havoc with our systems.
Dr Swan added: “Researchers in China found that workers with higher levels of bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, in their blood were more likely to have sexual problems, including decreased desire.”
She explained that babies get exposed to various chemicals while in the womb, and again during their own life cycle, so each generation is absorbing more than the last.
Dr Swan said in The Intercept interview: “That’s why we have this continuing decline in fertility and sperm quality.
“If we didn’t have a hit from our parents and our grandparents, then each generation would just start all over again.”