Research has found that the chemicals discussed yesterday are not just dramatically reducing semen quality, they are also shrinking penis size and volume of the testes. These chemicals are literally confusing our bodies, making them send mixed messages. This is nothing short of a full-scale emergency for humanity.
Given everything we know about PFAS chemicals, why isn’t more being done? There is a paltry patchwork of inadequate legislation responding to this threat. Laws and regulations vary from country to country, region to region, and, in the United States, state to state. The European Union, for example, has restricted several phthalates in toys and sets limits on phthalates considered “reprotoxic” – meaning they harm the human reproductive capacities – in food production.
In the United States, a scientific study found phthalate exposure “widespread” in infants, and that the chemicals were found in the urine of babies who came into contact with baby shampoos, lotions and powders. Still, aggressive regulation is lacking, not least because of lobbying by chemical industry giants.
In the state of Washington, lawmakers managed to pass the Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act, which “directs state agencies to address whole classes of chemical, rather than a chemical by chemical approach, which has historically resulted in companies switching to equally bad or worse substitutes. The first chemical classes to be addressed in products include phthalates, PFAS, PCBs, alkyphenol ethoxylate and bisphenol compounds, and organohalogen flame retardants. The state has taken important steps to address the extent of chemical pollution, but, by and large, the United States, like many other countries, is fighting a losing battle because of weak, inadequate legislation.
Just as an example: you can’t eat the deer meat caught in Oscoda, Michigan. The health department there issued a “do not eat” advisory for deer caught near the former air force base because of staggeringly high PFAS levels in the muscle of one deer. (No one knows how contaminated the rest of the herd is)
The rapid death and decline of sperm must be addressed, and it must be addressed now.
(Erin Brockovich, the environmental advocate, and Suzanne Boothby, slightly edited for length)