The Disappearing Male (CBC Newsworld)
Friday November 14th, 2008
"We are conducting a vast toxicological experiment in which our children and our children's children are the experimental subjects." Dr. Herbert Needleman
The Disappearing Male is about one of the most important, and least publicized, issues facing the human species: the toxic threat to the male reproductive system.
The last few decades have seen steady and dramatic increases in the incidence of boys and young men suffering from genital deformities, low sperm count, sperm abnormalities and testicular cancer.
At the same time, boys are now far more at risk of suffering from ADHD, autism, Tourette's syndrome, cerebral palsy, and dyslexia.
The Disappearing Male takes a close and disturbing look at what many doctors and researchers now suspect are responsible for many of these problems: a class of common chemicals that are ubiquitous in our world.
Found in everything from shampoo, sunglasses, meat and dairy products, carpet, cosmetics and baby bottles, they are called "hormone mimicking" or "endocrine disrupting" chemicals and they may be starting to damage the most basic building blocks of human development.
Factsheet: Male Infertility
* There are more than 20 heavily industrialized nations where the birth of baby boys has declined every year for the past 30 years - amounting to 3 million fewer baby boys.
* The number of boys born with penis abnormalities and genital defects has increased by 200% in the past two decades.
* Boys have a higher incidence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, Tourett's syndrome, cerebral palsy and dyslexia.
* Boys are four times as likely to be autistic.
* The average sperm count of a North American college student today is less than half of what it was 50 years ago.
* The quality of sperm is declining. Eighty-five per cent of the sperm produced by a healthy male is DNA-damaged.
* Damaged sperm have been linked to a 300% increase in testicular cancer - a form of cancer that affects young men in their 20s and 30s.
* The chemical industry has developed more than 90,000 man-made chemicals in the last sixty years. Eighty-five percent of them have never undergone testing for their impact on the human body.
> Backgrounder: Endocrine 101
> Backgrounder: The Chemicals
> Profiles: Scientists