A recent study on Danish men aged 18 to 30 years old discovered ‘alarming’ quantities of bisphenol, phthalates, and dioxins in their urine samples. The levels of these chemicals in the body were reported 100x higher than considered safe.
Phthalates (for example, BPA & BPS) are used in everyday plastics and can be used to make coatings for heat, water, and stain resistant products. They will never naturally break down, instead accumulating in humans and our environments over time.
These plastic chemicals are known to mimic hormones such as oestrogen, interfering with human pathways to inhibit the effects of testosterone – ultimately messing with the reproductive capabilities of men and young adults, too.
Experts say that while headlines claiming the human race will die out due to declining sperm count are overdramatic and unfounded, evidence that phthalates, pesticides, heavy metals, toxic gases, and other synthetic materials are hindering human fertility is growing.
Understanding the effects of these chemicals has seen studies focus more on sperm motility (the amount of healthy, swimming sperm) over traditional research’s fixation with sperm count, which – at face value – doesn’t paint a clear picture of whether the sperm present is healthy, mutated, or immobile.
And while more research is needed, especially in the field of women’s reproductive health, studies can ascertain that ‘forever chemicals’ aren’t good for our bodies – and one would be wise to believe this doesn’t omit reproductive systems.
The bad news is, reducing our exposure to these chemicals won’t be easy as they are found in almost everything we use daily.
That said, it may be reassuring to know that the EU has pretty strict regulations for the use of phthalates. In fact, 40 percent of all product recalls in the year 2018 occurred as a result of their inclusion.
Across the pond in the US, regulations aren’t as strict – but the Consumer Product Safety Commission did ban the use of eight ortho-phthalates in children’s toys and child-care items in 2017.
Fast food restaurants are striving to abandon toxicity, with Burger King pledging to remove forever chemicals from its packaging by 2025. But medical scientists continue to strongly encourage cooking at home as often as possible to reduce chemical exposure.
There goes my Monday night sushi delivery…