More and more, research is confirming that climate change and pollution of all kinds affects every aspect of life on Earth. Not surprisingly, this includes reproductive health. It may be intuitive that what goes on in our environment affects what goes on in our bodies, but the extent of damage that occurs due to environmental toxins is broader than most people realize.
These damages take various forms, from degradation of sperm quality and count to infertility and problems during pregnancy. Studies have found that sperm count is on the decline in men of all ages across the globe. Scientists speculate that pesticides, exogenous estrogens, and heavy metals like lead are the culprits.
Toxins are released from so many of the consumer goods that we depend on for life as we know it: Polyvinyl chlorides in tires and plastic goods, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons released from from cigarettes, car exhaust, and tar, the byproducts of oil excavation, and aviation fuels have all been shown to negatively affect reproduction and reproductive health.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the results of these toxins accumulating in environmental across the globe include “subfertility, intrauterine growth retardation, spontaneous abortion, and various birth defects” in addition to a rise in infertility in both men and women.
It sounds dire, but where there’s knowledge there’s power. This research means that reproductive health has to be part of the conversation when it comes to climate change, pollution, and the environment. It shows that reproductive health and freedoms can be approached from a variety of angles, each one helping to drive home the truth that these issues are in dire need of attention, funding, and innovation.