Sperm counts have been falling around the world for the last several decades. In some regions, such as Europe and North America, the counts are down as much as 60 percent. What could account for this dramatic drop?

Are Endocrine Disruptors to Blame?

Compounds in many ubiquitous products, such as the BPA found in hard clear plastic and the linings of cans, have been identified as endocrine disruptors. They interfere with the normal activity of human hormones. Could such endocrine disruptors be contributing to declining sperm counts and quality? How will that affect fertility?

Endocrine disruptors such as BPA also have other important effects on health and behavior. For instance, BPA can interfere with the normal activity of the hormone insulin. The result can be metabolic disruption and obesity. Other common compounds, such as those found in flame retardants, can disrupt thyroid hormones.

Tune in to learn whether you should avoid such compounds and how you might do so. Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) also has information on how to minimize your exposure to endocrine disruptors.

This Week’s Guest:

Andrea C. Gore, PhD, is a professor of pharmacology who holds the Vacek Chair of Pharmacology at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Gore is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Endocrinology. https://academic.oup.com/endo

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

Buy the CD

Download the mp3

Air Date:December 2, 2017

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  1. Jeff

    I thought hard plastic was the way to go to avoid BPA. I’ve been reusing them for years–only going through 2 or 3 a year. This show told me otherwise! I went right out and bought my first stainless steel water bottle.

  2. Jack

    I’ve been concerned about this for years due to my knowledge of a deceptive nature shown by the chemical industry , the quantity of plastic lined cans (think beer and veggies), and that BPA was forced from baby bottles only under extreme pressure by consumers and not even allowed in Europe.
    My thanks for your continued research!

  3. Ed

    Thanks for the interesting interview. I’m surprised that parabens were not discussed as parabens with larger molecular weight side chains, e.g., propylparaben and butylparaben, are known to have estrogenic activity.

  4. A

    Sad to hear the ad for udder cream at the beginning of this!

  5. Marvin W. J

    The mp3 download seems to have disappeared.

    • Terry Graedon

      HI Marvin, choose mp3 where it says choose CD or MP3.

  6. Mike D
    Durham, NC

    Can the out diffusion and outgassing of endocrine disruptors be kept to a safe level by keeping plastic food containers at or below room temperature? I’m guessing the diffusion/outgassing rate has an exponential dependency on temperature, like most physical processes.

    I find it difficult to avoid plastic food containers because I freeze large batches of home-made food. Glass can shatter when soup freezes, and there aren’t cost effective stainless steel containers with air tight lids. I don’t use plastic for microwaving though, only glass or ceramic.

  7. Nancy
    Madison, WI

    When my children, now in their mid-late 20’s, were young the dentist wanted to paint their teeth with BPA. This was in the 1990s, and there was enough information even then to present the dentist with studies that were pointing to endocrine disruption — but I don’t think it made any difference to that dental practice for many years. By now, given the removal of BPA from plastic bottles, dentists may have found another compound to protect teeth — let’s hope it’s not BPB.

  8. Kate

    I was wondering about plastic bags that contain frozen vegs and fruits.

    • Kate

      I would love more shows on the nervous system. Thank you.

  9. Howard

    I lost faith in Dr. Gore’s knowledge when she recommended tap water. :-( Most cities add fluoride to tap water and it is a major endocrine disruptor because it looks very much like iodine to the thyroid gland!

    Maybe a future show could have a more knowledgeable endocrine expert, such as Alan Christianson, MD, or Izabella Wentz, PharmD.

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