Human extinction may be coming sooner than expected. The emergence of hormone-disrupting chemicals has increased the infertility rate, threatening humanity’s survival on earth. According to a book called “Countdown” written by Shanna Swan, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, the sperm counts have dropped almost 60% since 1973.
The book suggests that this impending fertility crisis poses a global threat compared to the climate crisis threat. According to Swan’s research, sperm count could reach zero by 2045, meaning no human reproduction. This menace will eventually lead to human extinction.
The Chemicals Endangering Our Existence
Not all chemicals are a threat. According to Swan, some dangerous chemicals are found in plastic containers and food wrappings to waterproof clothes and fragrances in cleaning products. Soaps, shampoos, electronics, and carpeting have also contributed to this impending danger to a great extent. The chemicals found in these materials include phthalates. and bisphenol-A, also known as everywhere chemicals. These chemicals are hard to ignore due to their ubiquity in pesticides, cosmetics, and even ATM receipts.
Some chemicals called PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” since they are non-biodegradable in both the environment and the human body. These chemicals accumulate in the human system and the environment bit by bit, causing more harm every second we exist.
A Possible Danger
For instance, the PFAS are known to harm sperm production, disrupt the male hormone, and are also correlated to a “reduction of semen quality, testicular volume, and penile length.” These chemicals are confusing our bodies, making them send mixed messages and go erratic.
Light at the End of a Tunnel
Despite the extinction danger we are facing, little has been done to curb it. The good thing is, we have an insight into the harm caused by these chemicals, and therefore we can protect ourselves from them. At the moment, there is a trivial patchwork of inadequate legislation responding to this threat. Considering that laws vary from country to country, state to state, it’s difficult to curb this menace at a global level.
The European Union has restricted several phthalates in toys and sets limits on phthalates considered “reprotoxic.” “Reprotoxic” means they harm the human reproductive capacities in food production.
A scientific study in the United States found phthalates in babies’ urine that came into contact with baby shampoos, lotions, and powders. In Washington, state lawmakers passed the Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act that directs the state agencies to address various chemicals classes. Chemicals such as phthalates, PFAS, PCBs, alkylphenol ethoxylate, and bisphenol compounds, as well as organohalogen flame retardants, are addressed in this law.
Although the state has taken significant steps in addressing the extent of chemical pollution, it is fighting a losing battle due to inadequate legislation.