So, we continue to wonder: Where is the outrage on this issue? The annual 1 percent decline in reproductive health is faster than the rate of global warming (thankfully!)—and yet people are up in arms about global warming (and rightly so) but not about these reproductive health effects. To put the 1 percent effect in perspective, consider this: scientific data show a 1.1 percent per year increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder between 2000 and 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People have been rightly unnerved about this.
Why aren’t people equally troubled by reproductive damage to males and females? Maybe it’s because many don’t realize that these worrisome changes are happening, or that they’re marching along at the same rate. But everyone should. After all, these reproductive changes can hardly be a coincidence. They’re just too synchronous for that to be possible.
The truth is, these reproductive health effects are interconnected, and they are largely driven by a common cause: the presence of hormone-altering chemicals (a.k.a., endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs) in our world. These hormone-hijacking chemicals, which include phthalates, bisphenol A, and flame retardants, among others, have become ubiquitous in modern life. They’re in water bottles and food packaging, electronic devices, personal-care products, cleaning supplies and many other items we use regularly. And they began being produced in increasing numbers after 1950, when sperm counts and fertility began their decline.