One researcher made a very strong statement: the chemicals found in plastics and food are affecting man’s ability to reproduce.
This is a very strong statement, but an expert has discovered that chemicals known as phthalates are affecting the human’s ability to procreate.
So, what exactly are phthalates? These are chemicals actually found in everyday items such as plastics, cosmetics, and food packaging. When exposed regularly, these eventually have a serious impact on health. The discovery has made quite an impact, and according to a reproductive epidemiologist named Shanna Swan, if these chemicals continue to be present in the environment, then the future of humanity is at stake.
Swan works at Mt. Sinai and made the announcement on The Intercept during her interview. She had worked with a team of experts who had taken into consideration several chemicals found in the environment, and they determined that man’s sperm count has dropped rather quickly over the past decade. They went further into the study and found that aside from phthalates, a chemical known as Bisphenol A harms reproductive health as well. Swan and her team have seen the impact on the biological development of children who were exposed to it even before they were born.
Through further studies, the team noticed that these chemicals seemed to dilute the biological differences between young men and women, both in terms of the physical and intellectual areas of development. Swan, however, says that these findings have yet to be further probed on until the trends are constant and consistent. They’re still looking further into the links between chemical exposure and gender expression because, at this point, they haven’t fully understood its effects just yet.
Swan further explains to The Intercept, “One of the parts of the brain that’s sexually dimorphic has to do with language acquisition, and females are typically at an advantage. When you ask the mother of a young child how many words her child understands, girls generally have many more words. But this sex difference is decreased by the phthalates. And that is an overriding theme: Whether you look at anogenital distance or play behavior or language acquisition, these chemicals decrease sex differences.”
Swan also notes that the problem, at this point in time, isn’t getting any better. In fact, it’s degrading and getting worse as the years progress. That’s because as people get exposed to phthalates in their lifetime, this only adds to the prenatal exposer that they were exposed to, and the ones that have been passed on from previous generations. The changes are compounded, and in time, are added up.
During the interview, Swan also stated that because of everything that’s happened, there has been a constant regression in fertility and sperm quality. She shares, “If we didn’t have a hit from our parents and our grandparents, then each generation would just start all over again. It would be bad, but the impact would be at the same level each time. The fact that we carry with us the problems of the past generations means that we’re starting at a lower level and getting hit again and again and again.” Hence, further studies have to be conducted in order to find the proper solution.
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