I have a lot of patients (and friends) who have chosen to have children later in life (which is pretty common here in New York City). As a result, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in my practice treating fertility problems.
Infertility is an unexpected journey for many people… but, unfortunately, from a medical perspective, it’s not too surprising.
I’ve written about the dangers that endocrine-disrupting chemicals pose to human health—and reproductive health, in particular—quite a bit. The fact is, they’re everywhere in our society. And it’s way past time we started taking the threat seriously.
That’s why I was happy to hear about the release of a new book on the subject. It’s written by Shanna Swan, PhD, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. And it issues a critical warning to anyone trying to survive in this toxic modern world…
Future generations at risk
Swan argues that the chemical soup we’re living in—packed with plastics, pesticides, toxic personal care products, and so much more—has sent fertility plummeting over the last several decades. And she warns that this health risk could continue to impact us for generations to come.
Of course, this is the same warning I’ve issued right here in my Reality Health Check—and in my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter—more than once.
In fact, this crisis has been mounting for quite some time now. Long enough that a lot of these endocrine disruptors—like phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA)—are household names. And even when they fall out of use, like BPA, we just wind up with equally dangerous replacements (like, bisphenol S, or BPS).
But anyone who thinks we’re not paying the price for this can think again: According to one 2017 meta-analysis, sperm counts have dropped by more than half in North America, Europe, and Australia since the early 70s.
Plus, a more recent study of young Swiss military men associated prenatal chemical exposure with lower fertility. Needless to say, this is a huge problem, as testing shows that fetal cord blood now contains more than 700 chemicals, on average.
Not to mention, this happened within just one generation—during which we’ve also seen dramatic rises in children diagnosed with disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. And while there’s no hard and fast data to prove a connection…it’s a devastating coincidence at least worth considering.
Diligence goes a long way
Look, I’ve been having this conversation with my patients for at least a decade, if not more. Endocrine disruptors are dangerous because they are able to completely hijack your health by mimicking your natural hormones.
This doesn’t just affect fertility. It also raises risk of heart disease, obesity, and cancer.
And like I said, these endocrine disruptors are everywhere—in pesticides and other commercial compounds that easily make their way into our food supply, packaging, and personal care products. We ingest them, breathe them, and absorb them through our skin… every single day.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists more than 86,000 chemicals as manufactured in or imported to the U.S. So, I’m constantly looking at ways to reduce exposure—for myself, my patients, my readers, and my loved ones. Personally, I have purged my home of as many chemicals as possible—and I encourage you to do the same. (The Environmental Working Group is a great resource.)
This is one case where a little diligence goes a long way. And making even a few key changes can have a big impact. For instance:
- Buy organic produce.
- Avoid canned/packaged food (and fast food) like the plague.
- Use glass or stainless steel instead of plastic. (And if you do use plastic, never heat it up in the microwave.)
- Don’t touch cash register receipts—have them emailed to your, if you can.
But that’s just for starters. For a more in-depth discussion of this serious issue, I urge you to check out the June 2020 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“Is male infertility the next global crisis in the making?”).
In it, you’ll find a whole feature on the looming fertility crisis—along with scientifically-backed strategies to avoid becoming its next victim. Subscribers have access to that article in my archives, and a whole lot more. So if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for? Sign up today.
“Everyday Chemicals Are Linked to Declines in Human Fertility.” Medscape Medical News, 04/09/2021. (medscape.com/viewarticle/949054)