Guys, Guard Your Gonads! Fossil Fuel Crud Is Making You Infertile

According to pop culture, being a man is about sexual potency. The alpha male has his choice of mates and is believed to be the source of the best genetic material to breed the flock. It is Darwin’s theory of evolution in action. But what would happen if the alpha male in a herd of bison, or elephants or gorillas suddenly became unable to fertilize an egg? So what happens to the great “survival of the fittest” paradigm?

A new study published in the journal Nature Reviews Endocrinology argues that the crud spewed into the air when we burn fossil fuels is partly responsible for an observed decline in human fertility that appears to date back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, where first wood, then coal, then oil and then methane were formed. humanity’s most important energy sources. The rise in average global temperatures began at about the same time, which hardly seems to be a coincidence.

No matter how you look at it, burning fossil fuels kills the human species just as surely as if we closed the garage doors, lit a 53 Chevy and sat there with the engine running for an hour. One process is quite fast and the other is quite slow, but the result is pretty much the same.

Here is the abstract from the study:

“There has been a severe decline in childbirths over the last half century, which will lead to significant population declines, especially in industrialized regions. A crucial question is whether this decline can be explained by economic and behavioral factors alone, as indicated by demographic reports, or the extent to which biological factors are also involved.

“Here we discuss data suggesting that human reproductive health is deteriorating in industrialized regions. Widespread infertility and the need for assisted reproduction due to poor sperm quality and / or oocyte failure are now major health problems. Other indicators of declining reproductive health include a worldwide increase prevalence of testicular cancer among young men and changes in twin cities.There are also signs of a parallel decline in the number of legal abortions, revealing a deterioration in the overall conception rate.

“Subtle changes in fertility rates were already visible around 1900, and most industrialized regions now have rates below the level required to sustain their populations. We assume that these reproductive health problems are partly linked to increasing human exposure to chemicals that are directly “or indirectly derived from fossil fuels. If the current infertility epidemic is truly linked to such exposures, decisive regulatory action supported by unconventional, interdisciplinary research collaborations will be needed to reverse the trend.”

Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Science says that some of the products formed during the combustion of fossil fuels are shown in the image below:

Image credit: Penn State

According to The Guardian, the study focused on Denmark, but the trends in Danish society are also seen in other industrialized countries. One in 10 Danish children is born with assisted reproduction, and more than 20% of men never have children, according to the researchers. Experts warn that the trend could lead to an unbalanced demographic with too few younger people to support the older generations.

“We have to realize that we know far too little about infertility in the population, so the next step forward would really be to find out why so many young couples do not have children,” says Niels Erik Skakkebæk, professor at the University of Copenhagen . and lead author of the study.

Falling birth rates are often attributed to cultural and socioeconomic factors, such as increased access to planned parenting, contraception and abortion, and the changing role of women in society. For example, training and participation in the labor force has delayed childbirth for many women. However, data show that pregnancies were already declining before the introduction of the “pill”, the total number of abortions has decreased over the years, and unintended pregnancy losses have increased by 1 to 2% per year since 1990.

A growing body of research is showing increasing rates of human infertility due to biological causes, including 74,000 annual cases of testicular cancer, inadequate sperm and egg quality, premature puberty in young women and an increase in the number of congenital malformations in male infant genitals.

Such a trend cannot be explained genetically because the development takes place over longer periods and several generations, so Skakkebæk and his colleagues encourage the scientific community to look at the effect of environmental exposure to toxic chemical pollutants from fossil fuels that have existed since. The industrial revolution.

Fossil fuels are ubiquitous and their waste products have been found in people’s blood, urine, semen, placentas, breast milk and adipose tissue. Many of these pollutants are endocrine disruptors, which means that they disrupt the body’s hormonal systems and have a negative effect on reproductive health.

“We know from several animal experiments that plastic, chemicals and so on can cause problems in the animals’ reproduction,” says Skakkebæk. “We can not do such exposure studies on humans, it would not be ethical, but we know enough from animal experiments to be concerned.”

Studies show that rats and mice, for example, undergo genetic changes that affect their reproductive abilities when exposed to hormonal disorders by toxic chemicals. Research on humans is still sparse, but some studies have shown that endocrine disrupting chemicals may be significantly linked to male reproductive diseases. Animal data have shown that female and male reproduction are affected differently with the same exposure levels, and that early pregnancy is a particularly sensitive time for these chemicals to have a disruptive effect.

Researchers recognize that the link between pollution and infertility must be systematically investigated and assessed for causality. Lifestyle changes such as less physical activity, smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption and changes in diet can also play a role. Nevertheless, what should be quite obvious to the most casual observer is that with the advent of the industrial age, humanity decided that progress required to treat the Earth as a common toilet, where all waste products were allowed to accumulate large seen unchecked.

There’s a joke that says the highest point in Florida is a landfill. It’s strictly speaking not exactly, but from Bok Tower in Lake Wales, which is one of the highest points in Sunshine State, the view in the middle distance includes a landfill that is almost as high.

Our political leaders, their pockets heavy with lucrative campaign contributions, are content to look the other way. Greedy Joe Manchin from the once great state of West Virginia has experienced a cash bonanza from the industry as he stubbornly refuses to consider taking bold measures to counter global warming. Gordon Gekko captured the essence of modern society when he said, “Greed is good.” In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is deadly, a lesson we are learning as the final game of the Industrial Revolution enters its final stages.

So tie around the loins, guys. Buying a larger truck will not save you from the scourge of infertility. As Walt Kelly taught us years ago: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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