Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Human Fertility and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

The endocrine system found in all mammals, birds and fish is made up of glands, hormones and receptors in various organs, and is the system that regulates all hormonal activity in animals. Disruption of the endocrine system can occur in several ways. Some chemicals can mimic a natural hormone, causing the body to over react to the hormone or responding at inappropriate times. Endocrine disrupting chemicals can block the effects of a hormone or can directly stimulate or inhibit the endocrine system, causing overproduction or underproduction of hormones. Certain drugs are used to intentionally cause some of these effects, such as birth control pills. However, in many situations involving environmental chemicals, an endocrine effect can disrupt the proper functioning and development of the animal.

In recent years, it has been proposed that some trace, environmentally persistent chemicals might be disrupting the endocrine systems of humans and wildlife. A variety of chemicals have been found to disrupt the endocrine systems of animals in laboratory studies, and compelling evidence shows that endocrine systems of certain fish and wildlife have been effected by chemical contaminants, resulting in developmental and reproductive problems (Blazer et al, 2004). However, the relationship of human diseases of the endocrine system and exposure to environmental contaminants is poorly understood and still scientifically controversial.

Nonetheless, Shanna H. Swan, Ph.D., a reproductive epidemiologists and a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City whose work examines the impact of environmental exposures, to phthalates and Bisphenol A, on men’s and women’s reproductive health and the neurodevelopment of children has been sounding the alarm of what she believes is happening to humanity.

 Count Down” written by Dr. Swan and  science journalist Stacey Colino, chronicles rising human infertility and warns of the potential dire consequences for mankind if this trend does not stop. In the book, Dr. Swan explains that the growing exposure to “endocrine disrupting chemicals” that are found in everything from plastics, flame retardants, electronics, food packaging and pesticides to personal care products and cosmetics may be causing this rising infertility.

Dr. Swan outlines the dangers in both the book and the video below. These substances interfere with normal hormonal function, including testosterone and estrogen. Even in small doses, they pose particular danger to unborn babies and young children whose bodies are growing rapidly. These endocrine disrupting chemicals, which can enter the placenta, have the ability to alter the anatomical development of girls and boys, change brain function and impair the immune system.

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