Sperm counts of Western men are plummeting, analysis finds - CNN.com
Sperm counts of men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand are plunging, according to a new analysis published Tuesday.
Among these men there has been a 52% decline in sperm concentration and a 59% decline in total sperm count over a nearly 40-year period ending in 2011, the analysis, published in the journal Human Reproduction Update, said.
Though Levine emphasized that his analysis did not study the cause of declines, he speculated the reason may be “°we are exposed to many chemicals we’ve never been exposed to before.°”
Previous studies, including his own, show that exposure in utero to endocrine disrupting chemicals can harm male reproductive system development and fertility potential. Commonly used chemicals, including pesticides, lead and fire retardants, can increase or decrease production of certain hormones within our bodies and so are said to disrupt our endocrine, or hormone-making, system.
Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at the nonprofit advocacy group Environmental Working Group, noted that sperm is manufactured daily by men’s bodies. Recent exposures to environmental chemicals would have an effect on sperm, which serves as a good indicator of contamination, while also serving as a good biomarker of men’s health.
Lunder cites the work of Russ Hauser, a professor of reproductive physiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who suggests that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals may be associated with poorer sperm quality among men and worse reproductive outcomes among women.