- Shanna Swan is an epidemiologist who found chemicals are messing the our reproductive abilities.
- In her book “Count Down,” Swan offers tips to avoid chemicals in dust, adhesives, and plastics.
- She suggests buying organic produce, using less plastic, and making your own cleaning products.
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Epidemiologist Shanna Swan has spent two decades researching how our lifestyles and environments mess with our hormones and reproductive abilities.
In her new book “Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race,” Swan uses her research to explain how invisible chemicals in dust, adhesives, and plastics are linked to plummeting sperm counts, smaller penises, and overall diminished reproductive ability in grownups, children, and unborn babies.
That’s because these chemicals disrupt how the hormone endocrine is produced in the body. In turn, that disruption can contribute to obesity, lower IQs, premature birth. As Swan found, it can also decrease testosterone production, lower sperm counts, decrease fertility, and contribute to smaller penis size.
These endocrine disruptors can affect babies as they grow in the womb, if the person carrying them has been exposed to chemicals, according to Swan and other researchers’ work. They can also be passed onto babies in breast milk, said Swan.
For our best chance at stopping the fertility-hindering effects of chemicals and plastics, Swan suggested limiting your exposure to these toxins in your day-to-day life.
Avoiding chemicals in the modern world
Some companies have already pledged to removed phthalates and bispenols from their products. Annie’s, for example, said they’ll take phthalates out of their boxed mac and cheese, a food known to contain the chemical. Amazon, Whole Foods, and Costco have also sworn to do this with their foods.
According to Swan, buying organic produce and antibiotic-free meat, using less plastic in your kitchen, removing dust, and making your own cleaning products so they have fewer harmful chemicals.
Eating meals at home more often than having restaurant food can also reduce chemical exposure, according to Swan. That’s because food packages, and the gloves workers use to handle your food, contain phthalates that transfer into the food and then into your body.
Ultimately, Swan hopes governmental agencies and chemical companies begin to take exposure more seriously, and work to limit or ban these substances to create a safer future for all earthlings.
“What we really need is for the chemical industry to adopt its own version of the Hippocratic oath — ‘first, do no harm,'” Swan writes.
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