Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race

Shanna Swan and Stacey Colino. Scribner, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-9821-1366-7
Chemicals and lifestyle changes are “disrupting our hormonal balance,” warn journalist Colino (Emotional Inflamation) and epidemiologist Swan in this thought-provoking look at the state of human reproductive health. Swan, who published a study of sperm count decline in Western countries in 2017, writes that “the current state of reproductive affairs can’t continue much longer without threatening human survival,” and aims to position reproductive turmoil as a crisis as pressing as climate change. Data from Swan’s own research and a number of other studies, they write, points to lowering testosterone levels, increased miscarriage rates, earlier female puberty, and widespread ovulation disorders. Swan and Colino make a case that these changes are due to environmental pollutants (pesticides “can cause disruptions in thyroid hormone production”), lifestyle (such as sedentary habits), and sociological factors (notably, families trying to have children later in life). Their solutions for safeguarding personal reproductive health are often familiar (avoid cigarette smoke, manage stress), as are suggestions for averting disaster on a larger scale (holding manufacturers accountable for what they release into the environment), though a focus on creating “newer, smarter chemicals” through “green chemistry” is innovative. Still, this accessible and shocking account succeeds as an eye-opening wake-up call. Agent: Jane Von Mehren, Aevitas. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/16/2020
Release date: 02/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-1459-0
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