[Pharmwaste] Sperm Count Paranoia a Widespread Worry

Tenace, Laurie Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us
Tue Aug 7 11:27:51 EDT 2007

Article talks about the various things that can effect sperm counts, from
smoking to environmental contaminants. 


Fifty years ago, there were no sperm banks. 

There were no over-the-counter fertility tests, no proprietary zinc
supplements for virility, and men pretty much took for granted that when the
time came, their "swimmers" would do their job. 

Fast forward five decades, and the average man in his 20s and 30s lives in a
state that might be aptly described as sperm count paranoia. 

"There has been scientific evidence that sperm counts have been dropping
worldwide over the past 50 years," said Cynthia Daniels, associate professor
of political science at Rutgers University and author of "Exposing Men: the
Science and Politics of Male Reproduction." 

"This evidence has been met with two extremes-either profound skepticism or a
reaction that verges on public panic." 

Thus far, solid scientific proof to completely back these fears has been
elusive. But to paraphrase an old saying, just because you're paranoid
doesn't mean environmental factors aren't killing off your sperm. 

Some research studies do suggest that male sperm counts are falling across
the globe, and a number of scientists are working to determine the real-world
influences that might be causing a reduction in "swimmers." 

Many researchers report there are a number of fertility-damaging culprits
that may lurk within our workplaces, reside in the heat at the bottom of our
laptops, float in our drinking glasses -- and possibly even rest on the
dinner plates of mothers pregnant with male children. 

"I think the evidence is growing that chemicals in the environment do affect
a man's sperm count," said Shanna Swan, director of the Center for
Reproductive Epidemiology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.
"It's probably not universal, but it is pretty good evidence for a decline in
Western countries." 

Daniels said these findings have been met with equal measures of fear and
defensiveness, as they strike at the heart of social norms regarding

"Others strongly contest these findings and say that the evidence is the
result of social hysteria -- just one more example of men (and manliness)
under attack in the 21st century," she added. "One thing is clear -- this
question is socially and politically loaded because it involves not just
questions of male health, but of how we view men in the world today." 
[ more at the web site]

Laurie J. Tenace
Environmental Specialist
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road, MS 4555
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400
PH: (850) 245-8759
FAX: (850) 245-8811
Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us 

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