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Falling sperm counts, declining egg quality, and endocrine disruptors

457 points576 comments2 days agonytimes.com
by jonplackett16 hours ago

As someone who has had to do IVF for our child and go through the challenge of figuring our what to do to try and improve sperm quality, I can tell you once you start looking into it, basically everything about modern life is bad for sperm. Heat, radiation, plastic, micro plastics, soya, tap water, Teflon, antibacterial soap, underpants, western diet. It’s a perfect storm.

If you’re going though it though I offer a ray of hope that it was possible to sufficiently avoid these things, at least temporarily, and it made a very large difference (4X better within 6 months) and resulted in a now 3 year old child.

by tzone10 hours ago

Weight loss and proper exercise will probably deliver 99% of the improvements for 99% of the people. Stressing about heat, radiation, micro plastics, or other random stuff seems like extra stress for not that much benefit.

Most people in Western world are either out of shape, or straight up obese. It makes sense that, that will have huge negative effects on fertility.

by acdha7 hours ago

> Weight loss and proper exercise will probably deliver 99% of the improvements for 99% of the people.

In addition to be factually incorrect, consider how what you said sounds to the many people who are healthy, active but are having problems with something they thought would be easy. This is very stressful for many people, seeming especially cruel after years of worrying about accidental pregnancy, and the medical treatments are a figurative (and often literal) pain in the ass. Unqualified strangers taking the opportunity to offer judgmental “advice” is not something anyone wants even in general, and it’s certainly not more appropriate in this situation.

We spent about 5 years on this (and have a great 3yo). If anyone reading this has questions, feel free to ask.

by rhinoceraptor6 hours ago

At least in men, there is a very clear mechanism. If you have excess body fat, your aromatase may be overexpressed, and if so, you will convert more of your testosterone to estradiol. This interacts with the hypothalamus' negative feedback loop, lowering your GnRH, (and therefore your LH/FSH) making you less fertile and lowering your testosterone until homeostasis is achieved.

+8
by hojjat120006 hours ago

I was recently watching a video on Doublespeak[0], one of the types of doublespeak is to bombard the audience with technical jargon which means you automatically win, unless they know more technical terms than you do! In your case, your comment does not mean anything to me (or probably 99% of the HN users). Instead of this, you could at least cite a reputable source for this claim, this would be 100 times more effective and also useful for the readers. Cheers.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qP07oyFTRXc

by acdha4 hours ago

Note that I wasn't saying that it wasn't _ever_ true — only the 99% hyperbole. It'd be awesome if the solution was that simple and most of the couples I know would love to have something which could be done with that level of difficulty, expense, and personal risk.

by tabtab2 hours ago

I used to be really chubby, and increasing exercise barely changed it. My body decided to randomly change one day and the problem mostly went away. The body just plain has a mind of it's own.

But we are also not designed for desk jobs. Most of our ancestors sweated on farms or in quarries. One of the best pieces of evidence against Intelligent Design is that the designer forgot to design us for desk jobs.

by matchbok6 hours ago

Being offended about someone saying obesity is bad for you is nonsense. Fine, someone is offended. Oh well.

And it is true - most issues are related to weight.

by wonder_er8 hours ago

In some communities, weight gain is a down-stream effect of "metabolic syndrome", and the "solution" isn't to count calories or exercise more - it's to simply eat _differently_.

Sugar is a particularly odious contributor to problems.

Like OP, my wife and I also struggled with infertility for a few years (two miscarriages, years of doing everything "right", and not getting pregnant.) We're finally pregnant, and out of the most dangerous time period.

Our traditional fertility doctor was pushing us hard to do IVF (we didn't want to), so we said "eh, thanks, we'll just take a break for a while."

I asked the doc if there was any association between diet and pregnancy, and she said no. I facepalmed so hard.

I wrote up notes on a book about sugar here: https://josh.works/notes-gary-taubes-case-against-sugar

Might be worth skimming the notes to determine if it's worth reading the book.

Oh, and for others trying to get pregnant, and curious to learn more about endocrine disruptors and the effects of diet and metabolic syndrome on fertility (for men and women) I'd recommend reading _It Starts With The Egg_ [0].

This book walks you, the reader, though a lot of recent research, boils it down to a "do this/don't do that" checklist at the end of each chapter, it was perfect for my engineering brain.

[0]: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21782260-it-starts-with-...

by adrr5 hours ago

Curious on your age range. We also struggled with 3 miscarriages and most of our friends had the exact similar issues and had to conceive via IVF. There were more IVF babies than natural pregnancies in my group of friends. We were lucky and didn't need to resort IVF. We all waited till we were past 35 to have kids. Our fertility doctor said age makes a huge a difference and professionals are waiting till later in their life to have kids which makes it harder conceive with a healthy embryo.

by lurquer3 hours ago

> We all waited till we were past 35 to have kids.

Many people were grandparents by that age 150 years ago.

I too have many friends who waited until their 30s to have children. Most ended up in IVF (or adopting.)

Fertility (not precisely the right term, but one commonly used) charts — based on age — are very steep. After the peak in the early to mid 20s, it plummets very quickly. For women, anyway.

The low-sperm count issue, on the other hand, is very curious... not entirely sure if they have a grip on the true cause.

by beyondzero2 hours ago

> Curious on your age range.

This is going to be the dominant driver for female infertility. My wife and I waited until she was 32 and I was 40 and we struggled for two years. Eventually we talked to a doctor and both got tested. I was in the 98th percentile for sperm health, but unfortunately her egg production was closer to a woman 10 years older. We did IVF and got very lucky on the first try, with one viable embryo, who is now a curious and amazing four-year-old.

by avesi7 hours ago

I'm shocked that any doctor's first recommendation isn't starting to do fertility awareness with ovulation test strips. I got pregnant on the first try with our second kid doing that. It was much more challenging for the first one and we even talked to a doctor who suggested fertility drugs. Thankfully, those weren't necessary in the end. Oddly, after we saw the doctor, we stopped trying as hard to conceive, and then it just happened on accident.

by jonplackett7 hours ago

Really glad to hear you got pregnant. It makes me so happy now when people do after finding it so hard. It’s a shame this info isn’t more easily found by most people.

I had the exact same experience with doctors just saying there was nothing a man can do to improve fertility. “It’s just genetic”.

I also second the case against sugar. I should have called out refined sugar specifically in my list. That was one thing I cut out 100% even in ingredients lists (this is tough. It’s in EVERYTHING. Even loads of savoury things that have zero business having sugar in).

Side pondering - I’ve often wondered if McDonalds got a really raw deal from Super Size Me (great documentary) and that it was just the super size soft drinks that were the cause of problems - remember the guy in there who has eaten thousands of Big Macs? But he never had the drink. And he was thin as a rake (dunno how many kids he had though!)

+1
by lukifer2 hours ago

If I recall, not only did the Big Mac guy not consume sodas, but he never had the fries either (a perfect storm of salt, fat, and simple carbs).

+1
by artificial6 hours ago

I'll agree with you that it was an interesting film. Morgan Spurlock is an admitted alcoholic which casts doubts on the liver claim.

by blacktriangle7 hours ago

Allopathic medicine is a disaster, the overwhelming majority of the modern medical establishment refuses to acknowledge that diet has anything to do with health, where in reality diet is easily the largest contributor.

by Frost1x9 hours ago

While I tend to agree with you WRT to diet and exercise, I think this is a secondary issue to what's being described here, similar to how I think modern science and technology has skewed the natural selection process with a bias that may select for undesirable attributes. Some of this bias may be for good intentions (allowing less fertile couples to conceive) while some may have questionable outcomes (selection based purely on socioeconomic status). Again, I think these are separate issues. Efforts I worked with looked at effects of contaminants such as manganese artificially introduced in natural water systems but that's just one, there's dozens of concern.

The issue discussed in this article has quite a few biologists I've interacted with concerned which deal with products we redistribute or manufacturer back into the environment that may be causing these issues. Endocrine disruption is occurring in other species in the wild less or not clearly effected by the issues described above (selection bias, cultural biases in exercise/diet, etc.), and for all intents and purposes, seem to be going along with a sort of survival of the fittest model yet they're still having endocrine issues.

In the anthropocene era, it's quite possible some of our behaviors are causing this and it wouldn't be the first time: lead and CFCs come to mind in the past. We have what appears to be a smoking gun, but we still haven't identified the shooter. We should definitely improve the factors that we can like diet and exercise and look to remedy socioeconomic selection biases for reproduction but the issue at hand may be one you can't simply diet and exercise your way out of and we need to continue to investigate it and find the root cause.

by calvinmorrison7 hours ago

"Some of this bias may be for good intentions (allowing less fertile couples to conceive) while some may have questionable outcomes (selection based purely on socioeconomic status)."

First let's not anthropomorphize nature, or natural selection. But secondly, in 1st world countries, the more money you make, the less likely you are to have kids! We've done a terrible job at incentivizing couples to have kids since women have entered and made up a good part of the work force, and it's hard to blame someone in a good career, married to someone in a good career, to take off 10-15 prime years of their lives to have children.

I think that waiting to have children until later (late 20's to early 30's) is a big problem in terms of fertility and successful child bearing. Unfortunately the human clock doesn't really jive with the "4 years of college, work a bit and then think about marriage and kids".

I don't have a conclusion except we might want to think about increasing the birth rates among high and medium earners in our populations where they are struggling, lest we become like Japan or other countries (some in Europe which depend on importing labor in order to satisfy demand)

+1
by flerchin7 hours ago

I feel like a wealthier and wealthier population, slowly shrinking, might be the sustainable future we need. Yes there will be challenges, but geometric, or even linear, population growth of the human species is not sustainable.

+3
by greenonions7 hours ago

Shocking to think that our society would discount the future for the present...

On a serious note however, babies and a growing population is an enormous advantage to a nation. I would think it would be massively popular to increase benefits to those who are having children. Full disclosure, I found out my wife is pregnant yesterday, but still.

by Sunspark8 hours ago

I often wonder if it's something like car tire dust. All those vehicles eroding away the tire material which then goes into the air, soil and water. It goes somewhere.

+1
by mediaman7 hours ago

Exactly that was found to be responsible for mass killings of salmon in the Puget Sound, and the consequent deaths of orcas and other wildlife.

A rubberizer additive put in tires was getting atomized and then washed off into the streams. It makes salmon swim in circles until they die.

Does it do anything to people? We don't know.

by Frost1x7 hours ago

This falls under the umbrella of "particulate matter" and is studied quite a bit. I'm not that familiar with particulates from road dust (specifically from tire erosion), but particulate matter is frequently studied (though not as much for endocrine disruption, at least not that I am familiar with): https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particulates

by Apocryphon6 hours ago

> modern science and technology has skewed the natural selection process with a bias that may select for undesirable attributes

But that's hardly "modern" at all. Any improvement since the dawn of time that increases survivability for any creature that otherwise could not have lived and bred without it would lead to that result. Where does one draw the line?

by jonplackett9 hours ago

Absolutely agree that being generally healthy will make a difference.

But what if you aren’t over weight and already fairly healthy, like I was?

Then you have to look at other things too.

by drpgq8 hours ago

If you had to say what was the best intervention?

+1
by jonplackett7 hours ago

Unfortunately, I have no idea. I just did EVERYTHING. I was more concerned with making a baby than figuring out exactly what worked and what didn’t. There are just so many potential things it would require a lot of testing to know.

by nvahalik10 hours ago

We tried for several months but after starting and following a workout regimen for a few weeks... it just happened!

It's amazing what a little exercise can do for your body!

by vagrantJin9 hours ago

> following a workout regimen for a few weeks.

This got a chuckle out of me sir.

I imagine the sperm sent you a memorandum of protest about your unhealthy lifestyle. Sure it was an illegal strike but it worked.

by jonplackett9 hours ago

It takes 3 months or so for sperm to grow, so on that time frame the exercise can’t have made a difference to your sperm quality, it was probably fine already and you just had to wait to get lucky.

Unless you’ve been trying for over a year that’s just a perfectly normal amount of time for it to take anyway

by nvahalik5 hours ago

I think it was maybe not on my side, specifically... but just don't tell my wife that. :)

by steve_adams_867 hours ago

Overall this is good advice for anyone, so I think it's the best first step for anyone who's inactive or overweight. I'm not a doctor but I suspect this is how a doctor would approach it too.

I know it's anecdotal, but of my friends with fertility issues (3 couples who mentioned it to me), none are remotely overweight, they're regularly active, and they eat well. I'm sure inactivity and obesity are a major issue in regards to fertility, but I'm not personally seeing that.

by planetree8 hours ago

Perhaps that has something to do with endocrine disruptors too.

by goatcode9 hours ago

Is it possible that endocrine disruption could be related to issues with physical fitness too? There are many factors, but this could also be one, perhaps.

by naebother3 hours ago

No, I believe it's 53.18008%

by YinglingLight10 hours ago

I'll hold off on my order of the new Impossible Boner from Burger King.

by jgalt2128 hours ago

We need to start smoking again to control the obesity. And stop taking anti-depressants.

by medium_burrito10 hours ago

Yeah, I'm gonna take Obesity for $400, Alex.

Sidenote: When someone overfeeds their animal as is common in America, would that be Obestiality?

by WA16 hours ago

Soy isn't that easy: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Medical-me...

There was one study with 99 participants. A counter argument is Asia, where men eat a lot more soy and don't have reduced sperm count.

by petertodd16 hours ago

They've also eaten soy for much longer than others, literally thousands of years(1) at this point. That's more than long enough to evolve countermeasures if it did have an effect. They also eat soy differently, mainly in products which are fermented.

1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soybean#History

by tracker115 hours ago

I think a lot of it comes down to how it's processed... fermentation probably made it safer to consume over time.

I think the aversion to dietary fat for the past 3 generations combined with refined seed/bean oils has been hugely detrimental to human health as well. Not to mention, even with reductions, we still consume a massive amount of sugar per capita compared to pre-wwii levels.

by jonplackett9 hours ago

It’s crazy isn’t it. So many foods they market as ‘low fat’ they just took out the good fat and replaced it with sugar- which your body immediately turns into fat anyway, and messes up your hormones and insulin sensitivity along the way.

And the only oil we’ve introduced into the diet is trans fat which the body mistakes for good fat and just starts building stuff with it, and then it all breaks down and you get heart disease.

You couldn’t make it up

+1
by dalbasal15 hours ago

>> aversion to dietary fat for the past 3 generations combined with refined seed/bean oils

Aye... This is probably the first medically/scientifically prescribed diet for society at large and it has been a disaster.

+1
by lupire12 hours ago

Oils are dietary fats though?

by fpoling13 hours ago

One does not need 1000 years to evolve. One generation where soy intolerance leads to death through famine/malnutrition is enough. That is why cultural differences are so important to take into account.

+1
by maxerickson10 hours ago

That first sentence is an awful way to kick off a comment about population genetics.

by jtdev9 hours ago

They also ferment a great deal of the soy they consume.

by tubularhells14 hours ago

You mean the soyboys have been out evolved and outbred by the tofu eating Chadhuris?

by lupire12 hours ago

So when bullies bully people for eating tofu, they being especially stupid because tofu is the one form of soy that isn't "anti-masculine"?

by petertodd12 hours ago

There are many types of tofu, only some of which are fermented: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tofu#Varieties

by DoreenMichele15 hours ago

Almost 95 percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified.

https://www.thedailymeal.com/travel/8-most-genetically-modif...

In 2007, over half the world’s soybean crop was genetically modified; a higher percentage than any other crop.

https://worldofgenetics.weebly.com/genetically-modified-soyb...

Asians are probably eating less GMO soy (than Americans) and we don't really know what those genetic modifications do in terms of human health. They are typically made to improve profit in some fashion, not to improve human health.

+2
by eyko13 hours ago

> They are typically made to improve profit in some fashion, not to improve human health.

The main goals of GMOs are to increase yield and protect against disease / pests, which is practically the same goal we've had for thousands of years of crop domestication. Take for instance wild pre-domesticated maize vs present day non-GMO maize[1] and you'll see what "natural" crop selection does. Not only do we select for strains that are healthier and with more defenses, we also select strains that give us more bang for buck. Over the years, we've also selected for: texture, size, adaptability to different climates and soil compositions, lower concentration of toxic compounds, etc. Cassava and potatoes, for instance, can be deadly in their "natural" variety, and needed some "help" to get to the varieties we eat today. GMOs are simply the result of applying modern science in combination with what we've learnt from different cultures over thousands of years, to speed this process and hopefully prevent famine and starvation.

I'm not saying all GMOs are good for you, but I just wanted to counter this idea that we don't know what effects GMOs have on us -- we've been eating GMOs for millenia. Edit: I should also strain that I fully support questioning GMOs and holding them to a high standard as a society, especially when the modifications are made for reasons which are to a high degree simply for profit. One example of that would be crops that are engineered to be infertile / yield no seeds.

PS: I'm more concerned about chemical pesticides, especially in the scale at which they're used. Microplastics, heavy metals, soil depletion, etc. Many modern agricultural practices are not good for the environment, objectively speaking. But I wouldn't just blindly lump GMO in the same group just because it's also modern.

1. https://www.newswise.com/articles/tiny-genetic-tweak-unlocke...

by mfer14 hours ago

GMO soy is treated with different pesticides than non-GMO. What we eat still has some of the pesticide in it. It’s worth a considering the impact of the pesticide, too

+2
by creata13 hours ago

> Asians are probably eating less GMO soy

I may be out of the loop here, but why do you say that? Are Asians particularly more GMO-averse than Americans?

by nxpnsv14 hours ago

It's interesting to look at such studies, here is an example:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2721724/figure/...

So if you have low BMI you improve sperm concentration if you eat soy 2-8 times a week? Less or more than that is worse? Data is not convincing, and it is easy to find studies which don't agree.

by jonplackett16 hours ago

Yeah Asia is an interesting one for this. In Japan at least they eat a tonne of fish and seaweed which has a lot omega 3 which is really, really good for sperm so maybe there’s other factors.

Like I’ve said on other comments. When you’re in the situation of having to figure it out, it’s simpler to just blanket cut out anything with any evidence whatsoever. If it improves your chances 1% then it all adds up.

Plus soy isn’t even that great tasting. You aren’t gonna miss it!

by beauzero15 hours ago

Lard from pasture raised pork is also higher in omega 3. In the USA we switched to a "meat hog" around the 1920-30s for better industrialization. Just a heads up pasture pigs like Large Black hogs or wild boar do have a different flavor but you can buy the lard alone to cook with.

by jonplackett2 hours ago

What the heck is a meat hog? Also curious where does that omega 3 come from? Can’t be much in pasture grass? Is it like free range beef / chicken where they get more nutrients from accidentally eating a bunch of insects?

by chaostheory16 hours ago

Isn't the difference in Asia because they eat less processed soy compared to the US and EU?

by jesperlang14 hours ago

I was eating lots of miso, tofu and soy sauce when I lived in japan without issue. In europe i tried soy milk once and got an instant allergic reaction (itchy soar throat). The difference being soy milk is just soaked, ground up, boiled soy bean..

by StillBored5 hours ago

This is where i think science has been failing us. I have a couple similar stories where I have various reactions to one product but not a very similar product from another vendor. When that happens it would be really helpful if there were a research lab/etc where one could show up with both products and basically say, product A does the following to me, while product B doesn't.

The first time I really noticed this was ~15 years ago I was on a spinach salad kick that started when I purchased an organic pre-packaged salad kit (as In I was almost exclusively eating just spinach salad for a couple weeks because I really liked it and my kitchen was being remodeled). Anyway, those kits were quite expensive, so I switched to a cheaper non organic spinach and my own dressing. I started to have some pretty severe intestinal distress over a couple days, and swapped the spinach for a 3rd organic brand and the problem went away. But because the no organic brand was cheaper I bought a couple other bags assuming it was probably just a bad batch and I had gotten hit by a bacterial infection/whatever and it returned.

So I've had similar issues with coffee (gotten ichy all over when I changed brands and couldn't figure it out for a couple months), and a few other products. My Dr describes me as "allergy prone" but its not as simple as I'm allergic to spinach, or coffee. I seem to have a low grade allergy to something that is sometimes present across multiple food sources. I suspect without any proof at this point its a pesticide or herbicide, since I seem to have far fewer reactions if I'm tending to stick with organic leafy vegetables, and away from crops which have traditionally used more industrial farming processes.

If you look at the pesticide/herbicide studies what is abundantly clear in the US, that just like e-coli its hard to predict/track which foods are affected at any given point . The food growing and distribution system is to complex. So while a farmer may be following all the rules, he may be downwind (or whatever) of another farmer growing and spraying a different crop. Then his crop gets mixed into a larger batch and it goes complexly undetected because in low doses many of these products are considered non-harmful.

+1
by DoreenMichele14 hours ago

Someone once told me allergic reaction to soy may actually be allergic reaction to GMO soy, not soy per se.

There may be very different stats from one country to another on how much GMO soy gets used.

by arp24215 hours ago

I can't speak for other Asian countries, but here in Indonesia tofu and tempeh (fermented soybeans) are a lot more common than in Europe.

by fertilitythrow18 hours ago

throwaway due to personal health details:

Similar anecdote from a UK-based late-30s guy with a BMI in the 30ish range:

- no background health/illness issues. Non-smoker, occasional drinker (2-3 glasses a week).

- trouble with getting pregnant - checks on female were all A-ok.

- sperm analysis on me done.

- count & motability fine.

- morphology was low at 1% good-forms (minimum is IIRC 3% or above).

Several months later and re-tested: morphology was then at 4% - count & motability largely unchanged. DNA fragmentation was "normal" but not amazing (not tested initially)

What I did:

- significantly upped my standing desk usage - from sporadic use a few times a week, to perhaps 25-50% of every working day at a standing desk.

- changed underwear from tight-fitting "trunks" to looser "jersey" (not boxers - personally I hate boxers)

- slept naked instead of wearing trunks.

- almost entirely eliminated alcohol and caffeine, apart from the odd glass/cup maybe once or twice a month.

- anti-oxidant tablets ("condensyl") taken daily

Notable:

- exercise & weight largely unchanged (I ran a few KMs maybe once or twice a week - this remained unchanged)

- diet (apart from caffeine and alcohol) largely unchanged - perhaps some small mild "improvements" in cutting back on sugar & fat and having more veg but nothing drastic or wildly different really.

I now have a naturally conceived 1 year old boy. Pregnancy + birth + delivery totally normal, baby all A-ok. It can happen - don't loose faith if the results are "bad". Good luck.

by jonplackett2 hours ago

Hey thanks for replying and massive congrats on the little guy!

Weird how similar that was to me. Wonder how many other people there are like this where just that bit of advice + minor action could have made such a big difference to their lives instead of being told there’s nothing they can do.

Keep spreading the word!

by VectorLock16 hours ago

So you started drinking bottled water, turned off the Wifi, eating sushi and going commando? Doesn't sound so bad, really.

by jonplackett15 hours ago

Haha. I unfortunately did take it a bit more seriously. There was a point where if someone offered me a biscuit with my decaf tea my inner monologue would say “if you eat that biscuit you might never have children”. It was at least in that way the easiest diet I ever went on. 100% motivation!

by VectorLock10 hours ago

Sounds like the biggest life change you made was dieting then?

by ilyaeck15 hours ago

What's so wrong with a biscuit?

+4
by jonplackett15 hours ago

Like I said, I was going for the nuclear option and biscuits have sugar in. Sugar makes you fat. Fat belly means less testosterone. This is part of the anti-western diet thing.

by will_pseudonym15 hours ago

the ingredients.

+1
by war10255 hours ago

I may be off here, but I'm guessing based on the tea comment, that he may be British, which means a biscuit is actually a cookie in American terms.

by Razengan10 hours ago

What's so wrong with never having children?

by balls1875 hours ago

Nothing is wrong with not having children, if that is your choice.

If you want to start a family and are struggling to do so, that is very difficult to reconcile.

+1
by fuzzer379 hours ago

This is what I keep getting caught up on. I, for one, don't mind that my sperm count may be lower than my ancestors, or that my partners egg quality may be lower. I don't ever want to have children, so this honestly seems like a good thing to me. I know this isn't true for everyone (I'd say the majority of people _do_ want to reproduce), but for me personally, this kind of thing seems positive to indifferent at best.

by jonplackett2 hours ago

Nothing, if you don’t want to have children.

But when you do, there’s a lot wrong with it.

by astrea9 hours ago

Well, they were actively deciding to and attempting to have children, for one.

+1
by tuckerpo7 hours ago

Having children and passing on your genes is literally the entire reason you exist as a living breathing organism.

by collyw15 hours ago

Won't bottled water be more likely to contain plastic traces?

by manmal12 hours ago

There are reusable glass bottles, at least where I live.

by Cthulhu_13 hours ago

At least you know what's in bottled water, the water supply and its contents can vary wildly. In some places they still use lead pipes iirc.

+1
by klmadfejno10 hours ago

In many American locales, especially in areas with access to large clean aquifers, tap water will be cleaner than bottled water. Don't go assuming bottled is better. If you can afford to put a filter on your tap (this is expensive), I would on tap water being much cleaner.

by 74d-fe6-2c615 hours ago

If those things are bad for sperm count I'd expect them to be bad for the rest of the body as well. Sperm count is probably just a convenient metric which reveals the detrimental impact.

by nimbleal11 hours ago

In my (layman’s) review of related literature, this seems to be the case. I’ve gone through phases of looking into for eg. what might optimise lean mass, testosterone, longevity, decrease cancer risk, sperm count etc. It’s all basically the same stuff. Unsurprising, really.

by Onewildgamer10 hours ago

Can you share your study/findings? It'll help me and others who are searching for the same.

by nimbleal9 hours ago

I’m afraid I don’t have comprehensive notes, but it’s not very complicated or new (perhaps disappointingly). Maintain a lowish bodyfat (10-15% for males, I think 20-30% for females), consume sufficient nutrients (including non-famous ones like k2) but lower-than-you’d-think calories, get enough but maybe not too much sleep, minimise stress, avoid endocrine disrupters (though if memory serves evidence here is thin), cold and hot treatments both have potential benefits (e.g suana), exercise is good (both aerobic and resistance). Fasting and/or low carb can improve the efficacy of radiotherapy in cancer treatment. Things like that.

by forgotmypw1716 hours ago

You said "temporarily", so I want to remind you that all the same things are harmful to a child's development, especially when their systems are just coming online and establishing their baselines.

by jonplackett15 hours ago

Yes absolutely! Still doing the dietary things for her. She gets to have hot baths though, and wear tight fitting underpants.

FYI anyone else reading, if you have a boy Teflon is really something you should avoid.

by forgotmypw179 hours ago

I'm duplicating this text higher up, lest it be buried deep in the argument below:

> At normal cooking temperatures, PTFE-coated cookware releases various gases and chemicals that present mild to severe toxicity.

> Only few studies describe the toxicity of PTFE but without solid conclusions.

> There are some reports where PFOA was detected in the gas phase released from the cooking utensils under normal cooking temperatures.

> Due to toxicity concerns, PFOA has been replaced with other chemicals such as GenX, but these new alternatives are also suspected to have similar toxicity.

> The toxicity and fate of ingested PTFE coatings are also not understood.

Source:

PTFE-coated non-stick cookware and toxicity concerns: a perspective

Muhammad Sajid 1, Muhammad Ilyas 2

PMID: 28913736

DOI: 10.1007/s11356-017-0095-y

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28913736/

by Hallucinaut2 hours ago

Somewhat frivolous comment, but naming a material GenX hardly says to me "trusted and proven safe". It sounds like the backstory to a mutant movie.

by voqv13 hours ago

I wonder if it's Teflon in general or damaged Teflon pans - many people do not used them correctly, overheat them and have damaged coatings that leak chemicals.

You can go check perfectly fine pans having 1-star Amazon reviews "Pan sticking after a month!".

+2
by giantg212 hours ago

Here's something interesting to think about.

Did you ever hear of a canary in a coal mine? The miners would take birds in with them to alert them to dangers gasses. If there were dangerous gasses he bird would typically die before the miners did. This is because the bird has very high performance lungs so that they can supply enough oxygen to beat their wings quickly.

You basically can't own a bird in an appartment and cook with teflon cookware or run the self clean setting on the oven (they are teflon coated inside) because the fumes will kill them.

+1
by forgotmypw1713 hours ago

Based on random website I found googling, it starts to break down and release PFOA around 300F, which is easy to achieve if the pan is not filled with water.

+2
by slipper13 hours ago

In my experience, Teflon will always be scratched. Yes, in theory you could "use it correctly", but nobody ever does. So it's better to simply not have them.

by dijit15 hours ago

Huh, all my trousers were coated in teflon when I was growing up. It was a prominent selling feature.

by forgotmypw1715 hours ago

So are pizza boxes and microwave popcorn bags

by Lammy15 hours ago

Good parenting is forcing your boy children to take cold baths because you need their sperm to carry on your legacy.

+1
by forgotmypw1715 hours ago

Cold baths is a bit far, but pouring a bucket of cold water over them has many health benefits, including immune function.

+2
by sep_field11 hours ago

Good parenting is adopting rather than creating new life. Birthing a child is the single worst thing a couple can do to the environment.

by xkv8 hours ago

Cannabis was a big factor for me. My sperm morphology improved after I ceased using it. Anecdotal, but there are a few studies that support the idea (cannabis in general doesn't have a lot of studies because it is a Schedule 1).

If you're a heavy user, it can't hurt to stop while you're trying, and it may help. (I don't see it mentioned often in these discussions.)

1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31267718/

2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30916627/

by colordrops16 hours ago

Anecdote: I avoided all these things and more out of pure hypochondria for decades, and I impregnated my wife the two times we didn't use some form of birth control. I even have a sort of tic I integrated where I pull my testicles out from between my legs when they get constricted, and hadn't remembered why I started doing that until you reminded me that I read something about heat being bad for sperm in the 90s.

by jonplackett15 hours ago

Good to have a counter point to the ‘I drink a pint of whisky at night and smoke crack every morning and I got my wife pregnant no problem’ argument!

by lupire12 hours ago

It's not a counterpoint because no one says crack and whiskyt are required for pregnancy. It's a supporting point that sperm can develop without any particular specialized diet.

by nomdep3 hours ago

Anecdote: when we did everything "right" and nothing. The moment we just relaxed and said "whathever", it happened. Two kids.

by mrmonkeyman16 hours ago

Anecdote: same here, but did not avoid anything on that list.

by croisillon15 hours ago

You seem to be kind of shadowban (not sure what the proper term is), you might want to write an email to the hn moderation to clear that up

by Nasrudith7 hours ago

If you can reply to them they aren't shadowbanned.

by ip265 hours ago

To the many people arguing about mobile phone radiation - just move your phone to your back pocket & move on with your life. Your body will act as a shield. Will it matter? Maybe. Maybe not. Now go think about something else.

If you need something else to think about: non-antibacterial soap is better anyway, and a RO filter is less than $200.

Ok, NOW go do something else.

by gspr12 hours ago

> radiation

I don't doubt much of what you're saying, but is there any evidence to support that modern life exposes you to any more harmful radiation than life in the past did?

by FieryTransition12 hours ago

Cigarettes for once, can expose you to way more rads than what is healthy [0].

[0] https://www.verywellmind.com/radioactive-chemicals-in-cigare...

by gspr11 hours ago

Fair enough. I kinda forgot that smoking is still a thing. But it's been on a big decline for years, hasn't it? Surely this isn't some new and growing danger?

+1
by FieryTransition10 hours ago

Probably has, even though there's still a lot of people who smoke. Think it will be a while before it really can be considered a more rare occurrence/habit.

Considering how many people still do it, it could be considered as part of our culture.

Otherwise i don't know any sources of radiation. Besides some places where the atmosphere is getting thin, and getting skin cancer is very normal, like Australia.

by giantg212 hours ago

Yes, there have been numerous studies showing that the radio frequencies (radiation) used by cell phones and wifi are correlated (maybe causative, but not 100% sure) to reduced sperm count and quality. This is especially true when you have your phone in your pocket or your laptop on your lap.

Stuff like wifi and cellphones were not a thing in the past. There just weren't many consumer RF products a generation or two ago - phones had cords, there was no wifi or even internet, no bluetooth headphones or refrigerators, etc. Most of the RF radiation was produced by commerical or government sources (plus some ham radio), such as FM, AM, and military communications. This generally meant that you were far away from the source, which means they where mostly using different wavelengths and the power you recieved was lower (you quadruple power loss when doubling distance). Now days, you have multiple cell phones in your home, wifi at home and work (work can really blast you with all the access points they seem to over-install), bluetooth and a cell card in many new cars, and IoT devices seemingly everywhere.

Not to mention it seems we have more commercial exposure too. We have GPS, satellite TV, StarLink, cell towers, etc all vying for 100% coverage. However, I didn't look up the wavelengths, so these might not be an issue, or might cause some other kind of issue. I guess I'm just saying it should be no surprise that sperm count and quality is decreasing if we know that certain RF is linked to it and we are increasing that RF exposure.

by gspr11 hours ago

> Yes, there have been numerous studies showing that the radio frequencies (radiation) used by cell phones and wifi are correlated (maybe causative, but not 100% sure) to reduced sperm count and quality.

Do you have some references?

> This is especially true when you have your phone in your pocket or your laptop on your lap.

Are you sure you're not mixing up heat and radiation here? OK, technically radiative heat is radiation, but surely that's not what you meant. Sitting outside on a warm day with a pillow on your crotch probably isn't good for your sperm either, but it doesn't seem honest to chalk that up to radiation (even though technically radiative may have warmed you in the first place).

> Not to mention it seems we have more commercial exposure too. We have GPS, satellite TV, StarLink, cell towers, etc all vying for 100% coverage. However, I didn't look up the wavelengths, so these might not be an issue, or might cause some other kind of issue.

I'm sorry, this is pure speculation unless you can back it up by something. "We didn't have all these things in the past" isn't an argument for anything. It's like claiming that the cumulative number of HN comments is rising while sperm quality is decreasing, hence HN is killing sperm.

> I guess I'm just saying it should be no surprise that sperm count and quality is decreasing if we know that certain RF is linked to it and we are increasing that RF exposure.

Do we know that those kinds of RF are linked to it? X-rays to your balls, sure! But GPS and cellphones? Evidence, please.

+3
by giantg210 hours ago

"Do you have some references?"

Here's one of many if you google. https://natural-fertility-info.com/study-wi-fi-laptop-comput...

"Are you sure you're not mixing up heat and radiation here?"

I'm not. If you look at my other statements in my comment, you will see that distance plays an important part in RF exposure. Energy dissipates rapidly and is generally minimal beyond 6' when we are talking about sub-watt consumer devices.

"Not to mention it seems we have more commercial exposure too. We have GPS, satellite TV, StarLink, cell towers, etc all vying for 100% coverage. However, I didn't look up the wavelengths, so these might not be an issue, or might cause some other kind of issue."

You quoted me in the above and complained about speculation. You can see in the italics that I acknowledge that I don't know if the distant transmitters cause problems or not.

"Do we know that those kinds of RF are linked to it? X-rays to your balls, sure! But GPS and cellphones? Evidence, please."

I've already linked one study. I'm not going to google everything for you. You can us PubMed too.

I'd also like to ask where your evidence is that it is harmless? Did you also miss the study that said specific brain cancer incidence is raised by holding a cell phone to your head? It seems your position that it's all harmless is just speculation.

https://www.consumerreports.org/cell-phones/what-the-cell-ph...

by BunsanSpace8 hours ago

Non ionizing radiation doesn't have an effect on our bodies unless it's very high energy e.g. you're right next to a high powered transmitter (radio tower).

+1
by giantg27 hours ago

That's not exactly true. VHF can cause ocular issues due to heat buildup under the right circumstances. You can have this issue with extended use at relatively low power (<100 watts) if the distance is close (think ham sitting next to their antenna).

by manmal11 hours ago

Having a warm/hot laptop on your lap is definitely not a good idea for fertility.

by M5x7wI3CmbEem107 hours ago

what’s the solution? cabin in the woods and commute to work, fewer IoT devices, keep phone out of pocket, and?

by giantg27 hours ago

All I do is schedule wifi to turn off when I am typically sleeping, phone out of pocket when home, phone on speaker when using it, and I don't really have any IoT devices.

I'm not saying everyone should do this, but that's what I do.

by jandrese6 hours ago

The above ground nuclear testing in the Atomic Age certainly increased background radiation levels.

by admiral3316 hours ago

4x is a large jump, is that referring to sperm count? It might be anecdata but given that you were seeing a fertility specialist it could be more valuable to hear your lifestyle changes rather than much of the noise that is out there.

by jonplackett16 hours ago

It’s certainly anecdata since it’s just me but it was multiple tests over that period and showed a steady increase from not going to work for IVF to the level where it would.

They test a number of things from total count, count per ml, motility, correctness of shape. Everything went up. The shape was my main issue and that was the thing that increased 4X

I should say I also took some supplements too.

The problem with all this is isolating your variables - since you’re on a very limited clock and sperm tests cost £200 you don’t have time or money to figure out which things made the most difference. You just try everything and hope you got some of the right things.

All the things I listed above have some evidence for them affecting sperm so I just cut them all out.

by admiral3316 hours ago

How did you cut out tap water, heat, microplastics, teflon, and the western diet?

+3
by jonplackett15 hours ago

Not completely obviously!

Micro plastics was hard since you kinda have to choose between bottled water or tap water! We got a water filter for this one.

Heat meant loose underpants and no warm baths ever.

Teflon- easy. Replace with a carbon steel pan. Improve your chef skills AND sperm!

Western diet is basically high sugar and refined carbs. Just didn’t eat anything with refined sugar on the label in any amount whatsoever (I lost weight fast)

also switched to organic meat and dairy to minimise antibiotics. Can’t say if that made any difference but at least I was being nicer to animals

by xkv7 hours ago

> I also took some supplements

Which ones? Our specialist recommended CoQ10

by rhinoceraptor8 hours ago

4x is totally believable, I did two 25 day rounds of clomid so I could cryobank and I saw over a 10x jump in less than a month.

The reason why is pretty obvious, I'm overweight so I'm aromatising more. Taking clomid blocks the estrogen negative feedback loop in the hypothalamus, so you make more GnRH, so therefore more LH/FSH.

The whole endocrine disruption thing seems pretty sketchy to me. If you're infertile and/or have low testosterone, chances are your diet and lifestyle are horrible.

by scns15 hours ago

Tim Ferris wrote about radiation from mobile phones reducing sperm count in rats, and tested it on himself (as he usually does). Banned the mobile from his pants and got one of those attach it to your arm thingies. Spermcount went up.

by Manifretto14 hours ago

Tim Ferris is half conartist half motivation speaker.

by andy_ppp13 hours ago

I don't really love his shtick generally (a bit too try hard and salesman for my liking) but I think he's honest and not trying to con anyone. For example I tried the slow carb diet he proposes and I lost tonnes of weight.

by Bakary11 hours ago

I can't comment on Ferriss specifically, but almost any marketable diet can work in the short term since it makes you pay attention to what you eat. That fact alone is enough for results.

+1
by Manifretto12 hours ago

He is probably coning on a subtile not relevant level.

I googled his SCD and yes its the same schema f with his book and everything else he does.

It is not new at all.

His website uses the same technics to promote 'his' revolutionary things while never ever having done anthing new anything relevant at all.

And i read his 4-hour workweek. I payed for that book. His charisma triggerd me to get it.

This still doesn't mean he ever achieved anything you haven't read in any other blog or whatever.

He is selling himself very well. I personally would not be proud of myself though if i had his 'career'.

by Bombthecat14 hours ago

You... avoided all that? How?

You didn't wear underpants or what?

by hypertele-Xii10 hours ago

I'm not the parent poster, but here's my take:

Heat - Live somewhere North. There's very little of it.

Radiation - No wi-fi at home, put phone in breast pocket.

Plastic, micro plastics - Never buy anything plastic, if possible. Buy food whole in paper bags from local market; prefer glass and carboard containers. Buy cotton/silk/etc clothing, never anything made of poly-anything.

Tap water - Live where it's clean.

Teflon - All my cookware and utensils are titanium, steel, or wood. No aluminium, no coatings.

Antibacterial soap - Buy the simplest, free-est of additives soap you can, intended for sensitive skin and allergics. Wash clothes with Sapindus saponaria fruit ("soap berries") and vinegar.

Underpants - Just don't wear them.

An interesting side-effect of such a clean lifestyle is that a fungus clogs my drain about twice a year, since my graywater has no chemicals in it. Had to learn to take it apart and clean it :)

by driverdan9 hours ago

> Radiation - No wi-fi at home, put phone in breast pocket.

This is pseudoscience. Unless you're storing wifi devices next to your testicles they won't do anything, and in that case it's due to heating.

by DoingIsLearning9 hours ago

> No aluminium

I missed that one, what is wrong with Aluminium for cookware? Can you point to any source on that?

+1
by hypertele-Xii2 hours ago

It's very mildly toxic. Acidic foods react with it and metal leaks into the food. It's why canned food says you should transfer it to another container after opening. I assume greater temperatures accelerate this process, as heat makes molecules move, though I'm no expert on crystalline structures in metals.

Searching for "aluminium toxicity" will bring up many results.

Titanium, on the other hand, is so safe to our bodies that it's used in surgical implants.

by Hendrikto14 hours ago

One can wear underwear, just not tight-fitting. There is a reason balls are free-hanging. They should not get too warm.

by tubularhells14 hours ago

Why would you need underwear when you could just freeball every day?

by MisterTea8 hours ago

Some fabrics aren't kind to sensitive bits. I prefer to have cotton boxers between my bits and whatever rugged exterior cloth is worn.

by xkv7 hours ago

because denim

by gremlinsinc14 hours ago

We had to use donor sperm, and even then we had 8 miscarriages and 8 rounds of ivf. Every time it was at 5 weeks and 5 days. Doctor finally figured out Wife had an autoimmune disorder (presumed) and 10 mg of prednisone during first trimester solved it, for the next 2 out of 3 ivf cycles to get our 2 little boys. She had cancer cells though so had to have a full hysterectomy so we're likely done unless we adopt now...

It was horrible and miserable but our boys are wonderful and amazing. So it was worth it. Honestly, I'd given up and really was just "okay" with things but it meant "more" to wife her being Mormon (me ex-mormon) there's some cultural stuff there. Now that I'm a dad though, wouldn't trade it for anything - love my boys and have grown a ton since having them, I can't even explain how life is different as a dad and before having kids.

TLDR: Sometimes simple things like 10mg of a steroid to stunt immune system can solve the issue, if you have a recurring miscarriages anyways.

by riffraff13 hours ago

I have nothing to add to this topic, but I just want to send you a virtual hug, we had one miscarriage and it was bad, I can't even imagine how you'd feel after 8.

by fertilitythrow17 hours ago

Similar for us - trouble conceiving and a miscarriage. Months spent improving sperm. All conventional checks on mother came back as fine - "keep trying!" they kept telling us, while writing "unexplained infertility" on our medical records.

Still nothing happening. IVF was on the horizon, but a private consultant identified some trouble with "natural killer" cells in mother. No other issues with mother (no cancer like parent post)

Prednisolone (IIRC) and some lipid infusions and baby was conceived and delivered naturally. Drugs cost maybe £80 a month (although all the diagnostic checks and stuff was much more - start to finish (including like 12 ultrasound checks and multiple sessions with the consultants) we spent perhaps about £8-10K) - conceived on second month of trying, after years of nothing apart from a miscarriage and intense sadness.

Happy customer - no other relation: http://crpclinic.co.uk

by mpfundstein16 hours ago

i dont know. i did all of the bad stuff and surely wasnt a very health aware person (smoking, drinking, weed, late nights, slight overweight, city life) but got my wife pregnant within one period cycle and we did that two times (two kids).

its probably a factor.

but very nice to hear that it worked out for you. most have been a stressful period

by jonplackett16 hours ago

Well, lucky you I guess. For some of us it’s a harder road and requires more work.

For me, cutting out those things did make a difference on multiple tests that trended up as I cut these things out. All of the above have varying degrees of evidence to support that they affect sperm.

The problem is that you’re on a tight deadline and have no time to isolate your variables. Your only option is to go 100% on everything.

by M5x7wI3CmbEem1016 hours ago

antibacterial soap, too? how do you keep yourself clean?

and underpants, how? because of how tight they are?

by Aachen15 hours ago

> antibacterial soap, too? how do you keep yourself clean?

Regular soap?

by jonplackett15 hours ago

Exactly. Antibacterial soap is marketing BS. Soap already kills bacteria. As it has done since it was invented.

Proof point- look how hard antibacterial soap is being advertised during the pandemic, which is cause by a frikkin VIRUS

+1
by aaronmdjones11 hours ago

COVID-19 is surrounded by a lipid envelope; soaps break down lipids.

by draugadrotten14 hours ago

>and underpants, how? because of how tight they are?

Temperature control is the reason the testicles are in a vulnerable unprotected spot outside of the body. If they were inside the rib cage they would be better protected but warmer.

Underpants that keep them warm are working against this.

Nudism at home is weird but works. Works wonders on the testo level as well if the wife does it too. Avoid hot beverages.

by hilbert4217 hours ago

It would be helpful if we knew eactly what these endocrine-disrupting chemicals were. As is usually the case with such reports, this article is short on specifics.

Over the years there have many reports from cleaners to plasticizers, phthalates, and various other chemicals as endocrine disruptors but no one has put a sufficient measure on the problem so that we can move foreword - put regulations in place, etc.

As the article points out, what is so problematic is that many of the chemicals that are under suspicion are ubiquitous and not easily avoided.

I consider it important that we act quickly for not only public health reasons but also the fact that we're living in an increasingly chemical-phobic society and worrying the public without solid evidence isn't helpful to anybody.

We need need more research on this urgently.

Afterthought: it is essential that we have solid evidence ASAP as billions of dollars are tied up in the plastics industry. Plastics already cause environmental problems (and I constantly curse the fact that I have to get rid of so much waste plastic) but there's no point deliberately alienating the plastics industry without good cause.

by m_eiman17 hours ago

There are lists available, e.g. https://edlists.org/

When the EU was debating the REACH regulations there was a big push to move to a "don't sell or produce it until you can prove it's safe" stance, but AFAIK it was significantly watered down before an agreement was reached.

https://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/reach/reach_en.ht...

Then there's the problem of "chemical cocktails", where combinations of chemicals are more dangerous than each chemical by itself; this gets a lot of media space, but is even harder to research than individual chemicals since just about everything gets mixed up in various concentrations in nature.

by MattGaiser16 hours ago

Is there a reason we can't just dump tons of mice into different sets and combos of chemicals and see what happens?

by petertodd15 hours ago

One problem is mice aren't humans. In many cases research done on mice ends up being overly pessimistic, because the short lifespans of mice compared to humans means there is less evolutionary pressure to be resilient to cancers and other diseases of aging. Equally, in other circumstances they'll be more resilient, because they don't live long enough to see the effects of longer term toxins. And of course, there can be differences in specific metabolic pathways.

So yes, it certainly would be good to do more of that research. But there's limits to what it can tell us.

by sdenton416 hours ago

I think that's basically the current system.

Unfortunately, we're worried about bioaccumulation over decades, and lab mice only live a year or so... It's also worth considering the number of Giant Breakthroughs that happen with mice which fail to translate to humans. They're quite different, it turns out.

by numpad014 hours ago

It’s astounding how automated and reproducible software testing is.

by amelius12 hours ago

And yet software crashes all the time ...

by hetspookjee16 hours ago

I'd wager ethical considerations would hamper such ambition.

by adrianN16 hours ago

The search space is pretty big and research costs money.

by hilbert4215 hours ago

Right, synergistic effects are prevalent everywhere in with chemicals, drugs etc. One of the biggest factors is that we're exposed to so many trace chemicals that figuring out the combination of effects and whether their concentrations are relevant is extremely difficult even with the best science.

I reckon we will all be interested to see what the EU evaluation brings. What worries me though is that the EU is known for its hair-trigger response in such matters. If the evidence isn't really solid then we'll end up with a long protracted (and unnecessary) war with the plastics/chemical industry.

As I see it, the chemical industry is the most vital of industries as it underpins just about everything that's manufactured nowadays, without it we'd be in deep you-know-what. The fact that it's had a lot to answer for in the past, pollution etc., cannot be ignored but demonizing it unnecessarily won't help either.

From my perspective as one who doesn't work in the industry but who's had training in chemistry, there are two major problems that need solving. The first is that the chemical industry, especially in recent decades, is essentially closed to outsiders. There are many reasons for this, regulations, worry about access to dangerous chemicals, industrial accidents such as Bhopal being bad PR, and the fact that the industry is afraid to say anything for fear the public doesn't understand or takes what it says the wrong way - not to mention that its own PR is terrible to nonexistent. The second is that the public is grossely under-trained in chemistry and thus it's easily spooked or frightened whenever the word 'chemical' turns up. This leads to situations where minor incidents get concatenated with serious ones and they all take on equal seriousness. (I'll refrain from muddying the waters here with examples but there are many.)

I haven't the time to go into the reasons why the public is so sensitive and twitchy nowadays - given that chemistry is taught in schools - but nevertheless it's a serious problem. The secrecy surrounding the industry only makes matters worse.

It's why I'm always worried about inquiries into such matters. Of recent times we see engineers and scientists being so noncommittal about so many things that regulators and politicians ban things by default before the science is set. I acknowledge that's a sweeping statement because there are obvious exceptions where both commonsense and incomplete science indicate that we should act immediately. That, I stess again, is why the public needs to be better educated in the subject - then more correct decisions would be made more often and without unnecessary drama.

by inter_netuser16 hours ago

We all know what these are. It's precursors to common plastics, and byproducts of their decay. Majority of these have been grandfathered as GRAS "generally recognized as safe" by the FDA when environmental laws first went live in the 60s.

The onus is therefore much higher, it is on you to prove they are harmful, instead of requiring producers to prove they are safe.

Nobody wants to stick their neck out because the petrochemicals lobby will go after you, your career and your family.

The only way to get this fixed is to require producers to conduct testing to prove they do not disrupt endocrine systems of not only humans, but other animals, insects and so on.

I'm just not sure the political will is there.

by DoingIsLearning16 hours ago

The most reasonable work around is to force producers to label their product.

There are many vegetable packing containers which do not specify which plastic type they are. There are thousands of cleaning products and hygiene products that hide these compounds in the 'Parfums' label.

Forcing manufacturers to exaustively list composition would at least give people the data to make an informed decision when buying a product.

Also we really need to we stop watering down all these health and environmental protection regulations because of lobbyists.

by adrianN16 hours ago

No, labeling things does exactly nothing for consumers, because most of them don't have a Phd in endocrinology so they don't have the faintest idea what to do with the extra information. The most reasonable workaround is forcing producers to prove safety of the chemicals they use before using them.

+1
by jk7tarYZAQNpTQa7 hours ago

> labeling things does exactly nothing for consumers, because most of them don't have a Phd in endocrinology

They don't need to. We, as technologists and scientists, can develop solutions to make the decision process very easy, almost automatic. A smartphone app that reads a barcode and produces a color-coded safety value, from green to red, is all a consumer needs to shop safely. Or a website containing whitelists or ordered lists, "the safest shampoo is X". Then the free market will theoretically make manufacturers compete to be at the top of that list.

The problem is, such lists/apps can't be made until manufacturers disclose every single ingredient and chemical they use. And that won't be done until legislators force them to.

by inter_netuser14 hours ago

It's labeled now, and what good is that? I am sure you've seen "sodium benzoate" if you ever read these.

Not until someone actually finds free benzene in the drinks, giving rise to serious liability on the part of the companies, absolutely nothing gets done.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzene_in_soft_drinks

by Lammy15 hours ago

> when environmental laws first went live in the 60s.

I love our Earth and want to protect it as much as possible, and it's incredibly frustrating that restricting housing construction, globalizing pollution emission so it's out-of-sight-and-mind, and economically wrecking large swaths of middle America are the only things our environmental laws seem to be consistently good at :/

by amanaplanacanal11 hours ago

It’s easy to forget how much cleaner our air and water are now, though.

by Lammy8 hours ago

Clean enough for a lot of us to ignore that humanity's shared CO2 footprint is worse than ever because it happens Somewhere Else and doesn't (yet) impact us day to day: https://keelingcurve.ucsd.edu/

by jonplackett16 hours ago

When something’s this bad it would be much better to act now based on the evidence we have and figure out the full picture later. We know enough about how bad plastic is, even based solely on how it affects the environment and goes through the food chain as microplastics basically forever.

by forgotmypw1715 hours ago

If you wait for someone else to think for you and protect you from all the dangers in life, you'll be waiting a long time.

The "regulators" are the same people and entities who make huge profits off this stuff.

Do your research and act on it yourself.

by wing-_-nuts8 hours ago

>Do your research and act on it yourself.

Or, we could acknowledge that most of the general public doesn't have the education necessary, and have the government regulate on our behalf. You know... like they're elected to do.

Average Joe truck driver or Jane LPN shouldn't have to have an indepth knowledge of endocrinology just to be safe from the greed and callousness of polluting corporations.

by atq21193 hours ago

> Or, we could acknowledge that most of the general public doesn't have the education necessary, and have the government regulate on our behalf.

It's also worth acknowledging that having this kind of regulation makes our society more efficient.

I would be capable of informing myself on this issue, but I don't. The are so many issues of this kind that if I were to attempt to inform myself on all of them, I wouldn't be able to get anything done anymore.

Another way of looking at it is that regulation is a form of implicit specialization, which is why it helps us be more efficient.

by forgotmypw178 hours ago

> Or, we could acknowledge that most of the general public doesn't have the education necessary, and have the government regulate on our behalf. You know... like they're elected to do.

Hmm... Are you talking about the regulators who come from the same industry which produces the pollutants and are heavily lobbied by that industry?

> Average Joe truck driver or Jane LPN shouldn't have to have an indepth knowledge of endocrinology just to be safe from the greed and callousness of polluting corporations.

While I agree with your "shouldn't have to", there is no reason that they cannot read the same research papers and understand them enough to come to their own conclusions.

We are blessed with being able to access that information, and I think it is foolish to not take advantage of that privilege.

by jdsalaro16 hours ago

> Over the years there have many reports from cleaners to plasticizers, phthalates, and various other chemicals as endocrine disruptors but no one has put a sufficient measure on the problem so that we can move foreword - put regulations in place, etc.

I've been reading through http://projecttendr.com/ and they seem to be what you're looking for. I'm not sure what traction they've achieved on the political arena if any, though.

> Targeting Environmental Neuro-Development Risks Project TENDR is a unique collaboration of leading scientists, health professionals and children’s and environmental advocates. We came together in 2015 out of concern over the now substantial scientific evidence linking toxic environmental chemicals to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficits, hyperactivity, intellectual disability and learning disorders.

by vincentmarle2 days ago

> Store food in glass containers, not plastic. Above all, don’t microwave foods in plastic or with plastic wrap on top. Avoid pesticides. Buy organic produce if possible. Avoid tobacco or marijuana. Use a cotton or linen shower curtain, not one made of vinyl. Don’t use air fresheners. Prevent dust buildup. Vet consumer products you use with an online guide like that of the Environmental Working Group.

I really want to do this, but it seems impossibly hard. For example, almost all the food I buy is in plastic containers.

by XiJInPaddington17 hours ago

Because its the same thing as a person setting your house on fire then advising you not to breathe in the smoke. Advice like telling people we are drowning in plastic because we don't recycle, telling people with no access to public transportation to minimize the use of cars, telling people with no access to healthcare to take care of their bodies, telling people that grew up in a glorified prison they call public schools to get more education. They flood the world with plastic to the point where people effectively have no other option than use plastic then tell people to not use plastic. It's funny how if people say the solution to income inequality is to execute billionaires we would never seriously entertain that thought, we would immediately know that is an absurd solution, yet when people say guys choose not to use plastic we stop and consider it as if it is a viable solution for ordinary people and not callously asinine advise. It is no wonder there is so much rage in the Western world when the elites present such ridiculous solutions to problems they themselves brought into existence and expect us to act like they are priests endowed with God's personal blessing.

by loa_in_13 hours ago

Who is "they"?

by pessimizer6 hours ago

The upper-middle professional-managerial class who gets to make and implement these decisions, and write these articles.

edit: More simply, what upper-middle class people usually refer to as "everybody."

by silexia10 hours ago

It is "we". Almost all people I know will make selfish decisions that harm others for their own advantage. It seems to be simply human nature.

by MisterTea7 hours ago

> It seems to be simply nature.

FTFY.

It's all about survival. Humans are animals not much different than a deer, lion or whatever. A deer will run away from something it doesn't know where a lion will attack/kill anything it doesn't know. Just like the stereotypical "git off my land" character of a country bumpkin. I mean, how do you feel when you see a stranger walking on your property? Same thing.

I always laugh when people say they feel close with nature. Um, hello! You ARE nature. The human brain just overlaid a thick layer of self awareness/logic/reasoning/emotion to the lower level animal bits. So instead of pissing on trees we instead draw lines on paper called borders and property lines. And we still live in trees, just dead ones turned into boxes called homes.

For thousands of years we struggled like any other animal to survive. If you had food you made sure no one takes it. If you found a safe place to sleep you dint want to share it. If a stranger wanders into your territory, chase or kill them, they are a threat. If you were a male you had to prove your worthiness to a female by fighting or peacocking (some things never change...) etc. Oh and we smell just as bad. The stink of a locker room or unkempt home is no different then the stink of a farm or zoo. You're a smelly hairless great ape. Deal with it.

by siltpotato11 hours ago

Is the parent article by a plastic producer? I'm tired of this priest comparison at every corner.

by bloak2 days ago

So much "plastic" packaging nowadays (in the UK) is labelled with "Do not recycle" but no indication of what it's made of. This has annoyed me from an environmental point of view, but probably one should look at it from a health point of view, too. Perhaps those items are made from a material that the manufacturers know has potential health implications and that's why they're carefully not saying what it is?

Perhaps the law should require proper labelling of packaging material that is in contact with food just like it requires food ingredients to be listed. If manufacturers were to lobby hard against such a rule, what might we conclude from that?

by froh17 hours ago

NPR recently collected some history lots of plastics got some recycling symbols even though most plastics are not recycled for economic reasons: plastics have to be unmixed for true recycling. Most food packaging is landfill.

https://www.npr.org/2020/09/11/897692090/how-big-oil-misled-...

by fy2013 hours ago

The symbol with three arrows in a triangle and a code does not mean an item is recyclable. The official name is a Resin Identification Code. It lets you identify what material an item is made of, but it does not say whether it can be recycled or not, as that varies depending on local facilities.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resin_identification_code

by froh7 hours ago

TIL resin identification code.

Edit: the original stated purpose, according to the linked wikipedia page, was: facilitate recycling...

And if it actually will be recycled depends not only on the facility but also on the cost of doing what needs to be done (for separation and transport), and the possibility of what can be done (laminates). However these constraints are not communicated clearly.

I'm 52 years old, I live in Germany, where we "recycle" for ages, about 30 years now, and we tell our kids and grannies and everybody in between to separate the trash because "recycling", and we see benches and other sturdy plastics items "made from trash" and still, only 17% of the collected packaging trash is reliably recycled, while the recycling of other plastics (toys, vehicle parts, any plastics that are not packaging) is also intransparent.

https://bmbf-plastik.de/en/publication/plastic-atlas-2019-fa...

https://www.tagesschau.de/faktenfinder/kurzerklaert/kurzerkl...

by vkou17 hours ago

> Perhaps those items are made from a material that the manufacturers know has potential health implications and that's why they're carefully not saying what it is?

Unlikely. It's more likely that they don't know, because they didn't look too hard.

The reason it's not recyclable has nothing to do with that, though. It's not recyclable because plastic recycling is very difficult, many plastics can't be recycled, and of those that can, any contaminants will ruin an entire batch. Food is an example of such a contaminant.

by WalterGR16 hours ago

any contaminants will ruin an entire batch. Food is an example of such a contaminant.

This is a myth.

by WalterGR10 hours ago

(It’s too late to edit my comment, but to be clear, food is a contaminant - it’s a myth that any amount of contaminant will ruin a batch...)

by m_eiman17 hours ago

There's a big difference in the amount of leakage from the plastics when it's cold vs when it's heated - so a good step is to put whatever you're heating on a plate before you put it in the microwave (or oven, or…), rather than heating it in the plastic it came in.

by segfaultbuserr15 hours ago

Also, avoid using dishwasher and dryer. But some types of plastic cookware is just a pain to clean up. The only solution is avoid buying any plastic cookware or food container completely.

Unheated food-grade plastic is generally okay, but when exposed to heat or UV light, you have a big problem. This paper is worth reading [0], according to their experiment, almost all commercially available plastic products—independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source—leached chemicals after being exposed to UV lights or heat.

[0] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222987/

by hef1989813 hours ago

Isn't that common sense anyway? Especially the packaging it came with?

by audunw13 hours ago

Lots of plastic containers for left over food claims to be microwave friendly.

There are several pre-made food products on the market with plastic containers that instructs you to cook them in microwave with the plastic packaging still on. One product I tried recently even had a little tab on the plastic wrapper that would start whistling when the food was done. I think I tried it that one time. I don't usually buy things like that.

by nostromo17 hours ago

It’s interesting they call out vinyl shower curtains but not vinyl and polyester clothing, which we wear on our bodies all day.

Even most cotton shirts and jeans tend to be a blend with synthetic plastic fibers because it stretches and breaths better.

by cameldrv16 hours ago

I'm not sure you should specifically be worried about vinyl shower curtains, but vinyl is a specific concern, because to get the form of vinyl that's soft and pliable, the vinyl is mixed about 50/50 with phthalates that are known endocrine disruptors.

That said, phthalates are used in tons of stuff, and it's not fully clear to me which sources are the most important. I've replaced my soap/shampoo/shaving creams with phthalate free versions. It's also present though in basically all plastic tubing, which is known to leach phthalates and is used very extensively in food production machinery.

by DoingIsLearning9 hours ago

> I've replaced my soap/shampoo/shaving creams with phthalate free versions

How do you identify these? You mean there are products that advertise themselves to be phtalate free? Or that you are actively looking for phtalate composition in the products you buy?

by ashtonkem9 hours ago

They’ll advertise it clearly on the bottle.

by boatsie7 hours ago

If it’s in plastic tubing, would that include all homes with pex piping? Water dispensers in refrigerators? Seems impossible to get away from.

by cameldrv6 hours ago

It will definitely leach from PVC pipe. I'm not sure about PEX. Yes to water dispensers in refrigerators.

In general, the problem will be worse with smaller diameter pipes/tubes due to surface area/volume ratio, worse if the water has been standing in the pipe/tube, and worse if the water is hot.

These chemicals are extremely difficult to get away from. I saw a study where they tried to get volunteers to take a reasonably large set of actions to reduce their levels of BPA and Phthalates, and they were able to get them down to about half the original levels, but not lower.

by vladvasiliu17 hours ago

I think there's two issues.

The first is that I recall the shower curtain problem was related to the heat / steam floating around in the shower which facilitated shedding of particles and also ingestion. Having the "plastic" clothing just on the body may be less bad.

Also, and more importantly, I think people who are conscious about those things tend to wear less plastic fibers but won't necessarily think about the shower curtain.

For example, except for full on technical sportswear (think biking shorts), I never wear polyester or other synthetic fibers in clothing that goes directly on my skin. I used to avoid it because, for the most part, I've found that polyester is less breathable, tends to stick a lot, etc. I try as much as possible (I check the labels) to stick to cotton / linen (for the summer) / wool (for the winter). Now, the whole "plastics are bad" thing doesn't really push me to reevaluate my choice.

by eznzt16 hours ago

> Even most cotton shirts and jeans tend to be a blend with synthetic plastic fibers because it stretches and breaths better.

Just look at the labels...

by dehrmann17 hours ago

Or carpet.

by lm2846911 hours ago

> For example, almost all the food I buy is in plastic containers.

I stopped buying these a while ago. Buy fresh veggies, classic pasta/rice/lentils or whatever you fancy, meat from the butcher if you eat meat, I skip anything I can't identify or anything that I couldn't make myself at home with regular ingredients.

It's super restrictive but you get rid of literally 99% of junk food. You are what you eat, quite literally

by graeme3 hours ago

Not that simple. The paper your butcher uses also has plastic most likely. Most paper products do these days.

You nonetheless minimize exposure that way to be clear.

by forgotmypw1717 hours ago

It's not easy, almost impossible, to do overnight. Try it one thing or habit at a time. Single out one thing which is harmful, and commit to finding and integrating a substitute.

Also, remember "cleaning" products besides a select few like Bronner's have the same type of crap in them. "Eco-friendly" ones like Seventh Gen and Meyer's are bullshit if you look at the ingredients list.

Let's all take a moment to consider how blessed we are to have those ingredients list, by the way.

by goatcode9 hours ago

It's difficult to do it all at once. Taking little steps might help: instead of using plastic tupperware, use glass; instead of buying beans in a can, buy dry beans; balcony garden? Sure!

Even if some things are impossible to do, it's imo best to not pile on top of those problems issues that aren't impossible to solve.

by boatsie7 hours ago

Even dry beans come in a plastic bag...

by goatcode5 hours ago

If so, and while microplastics may still be an issue, leeching due to wet beans being in contact with the plastic lining of their cans is not. Along the same lines as my original general message: a bit at a time.

by soheil8 hours ago

What part of taking out the food you buy out of its plastic container before microwaving it is impossibly hard?

by krageon15 hours ago

It's reasonable to work on the factors that you can easily influence. Once you've tackled those, you can see what else you can still fix. It doesn't need to be all or nothing.

by jimbob4517 hours ago

Yeah this is my issue. I have to drink bottled water for water quality reasons. How am I supposed to avoid plastic there?

by atq211917 hours ago

This is very much a cultural thing. Over here, you can easily get bottled water in glass bottles. The delivery services will pick up your tray with empty bottles to be reused. That's reuse after cleaning, not recycling!

by hef1989813 hours ago

Europe, I guess? I had a talk late last year with a local brewery (traditinal bavarian one, family operated since the 1400s). And apparently everyone, especially Coca Cola, is going for glass right now. To the point reusable glass bottles are an actual bottle neck for them. Mind you, depsite the Covid caused demand drop. That was quite an interesting fun fact for me.

by f6v17 hours ago

One thing I miss about Germany is S.Pellegrino in glass bottles. Since I moved to Belgium it has been incredibly hard to come by glass-bottled water.

by seszett14 hours ago

I've found glass-bottled water easy to find in Belgium, I buy cases of Ginstberg (they have both still and carbonated water) in glass bottles in a supermarket here in West Flanders.

I know at least a couple places where you can buy it (Huis Maria in Harelbeke, Vanuxeem in Ploegsteert, so both Flanders and Wallonia) so I would assume those to be widespread enough throughout the country.

To me coming from France it was Belgium that was the easier place to find glass-bottled water :)

by thorin13 hours ago

Can't you just drink tap water, or if it really tastes that bad use a water filter. The idea of buying a new bottle every time you want a drink of water seems insane to me!

by seszett13 hours ago

I assumed they were talking about reused glass bottles. Here (so in Belgium) I buy cases of water bottles with a deposit and return them empty.

The bottles are reused, and the water tastes a lot better than at least my tap water (in Antwerp - the tap water comes from a stagnant canal used for merchandise shipping, and last year for example it turned green and smelled of algae for a while after a ship carrying fertilizer capsized).

by triceratops3 hours ago

> I have to drink bottled water for water quality reasons

Why is your water quality bad?

by robin_reala17 hours ago

Filtered water? Sure, the filter cartridges are plastic, but I’d guess that you’d reduce your plastic usage in general.

by ashtonkem9 hours ago

Get a water filter and drink tap. They sell filters made primarily out of steel.

by codr714 hours ago

There are some pretty decent filters out there that are not crazy expensive, guess it depends on how bad the water is though.

by dheera17 hours ago

Couple of options:

(a) I used to live in Malaysia where tap water wasn't drinkable as-is, but filtering and boiling made it drinkable and tasted just fine. Hot water dispensers are pretty standard to have in most Asian homes; just put the water through a filtering pitcher before pouring into the hot water dispenser.

(b) Subscribe to those 5-gallon big blue bottles and a dispenser. They get actually reused instead of downcycled.

by inter_netuser16 hours ago

Blue plastic bottles leach endocrine disruptors, either BPA or BP-S.

by inter_netuser16 hours ago

Drink Voss? and re-fillVOSS bottles with distilled water?

You can get distilled water delivered in very large glass jugs (4 gallons i think?)

by fhsm14 hours ago

Some thought that distilled water may not be desirable:

https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/nutrientscha...

by inter_netuser14 hours ago

very minor concern vs. benefits you get.

This is mostly about dissolved minerals, carbonates etc, and you should be able to control trivially.

I know I would prefer to know exactly what's in my water.

by spodek12 hours ago

> I really want to do this, but it seems impossibly hard. For example, almost all the food I buy is in plastic containers.

Hacker News: colonizing to Mars is straightforward and natural. Buying vegetables fresh or organizing a farmers market is impossibly hard and goes against human nature.

by globular-toast16 hours ago

My instincts have told me not to do any of this. All my life I've seen people microwaving stuff in plastic containers. I find it repulsive. I don't even own a microwave. I keep leftovers in bowls and reheat it in the oven or in a saucepan. I've always hated everything plastic really. And anything that decreases air quality. How people can spray tiny droplets of god knows what into the air and subsequently breathe then in is beyond me.

by nomoreusernames17 hours ago

why do you want to reproduce? whats the point of forcing people to be born without their consent? whats wrong with nonexistence? is it not cruel to force people to become born and have to face the horrors of this place and then die and have all their loved ones die? i still dont get it to be honest. i mean i do, but i dont. but yeah to add to your list, dont partake in eating polarbears everytime a male in your village becomes of hunting age.

by krageon15 hours ago

This point of view is self-exterminating, which is why having it is dumb.

by heyoni17 hours ago

What’s the argument here? Consent doesn’t really exist until the deed is done and someone is born…and although death is inevitable, it’s also a very small part of one’s life.

by alfiedotwtf17 hours ago

> forcing people to be born without their consent

How could someone consent to be born?

by wombatpm7 hours ago

I was taught that a zygote was just gamates way of making more gamates.

by Nasrudith7 hours ago

How can they even be forced when they don't exist for that matter?

by nathias17 hours ago

How about all the people you're preventing to be born without their consent? Surely you see how idiotic this argument is from the other side?

by avsteele11 hours ago

This is the most important part of the essay:

   Uncertainty remains, research sometimes conflicts and biological pathways aren’t always clear. There are competing theories about whether the sperm count decline is real and what might cause it and about why girls appear to be reaching puberty earlier, and it’s sometimes unclear whether an increase in male genital abnormalities reflects actual rising numbers or just better reporting.
You should maintain a very low prior probability of this being true without more information. Remember correlation usually != causation

https://www.gwern.net/Causality

There are a lot of other possible causes for all the these declines. (obesity and lower physical activity being only the most likely-seeming to me)

by galangalalgol11 hours ago

Obesity being a correlation might mean it is also a symptom. We already know from a couple studies that people with the same activity level and calorie intake are significantly more overweight than in the 80s. One leading hypothesis is endocrine disruptors.

by klmadfejno10 hours ago

Possible, but I would tend to bet its just a high sugar and sweetener diet more than anything. Obesity is not uniform at all. In pre covid days of seeing many people, I would rarely see anyone who is obese (northeast american), but that's because I'm in an upper middle class bubble. These days I'm pretty good about avoiding heating up plastics and what not. Growing up it wasn't on our radar at all. Point I'm trying to make is plastic exposure is pretty high for all populations, whereas diet varies tremendously by social class, and the composition of it has changed significantly since the 80s.

by galangalalgol8 hours ago

Also we traded cocaine and cigarettes for pot and booze (alcohol usage is much higher than the 80s).

by ntsplnkv211 hours ago

I'd be very wary of any studies that ask people to identify "activity level."

by galangalalgol10 hours ago

That does seem the weak point. The body can conserve calories in many hard to observe ways.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S18714...

by jeffreyrogers8 hours ago

If something could be very harmful you should avoid it out of precaution. And many of these chemicals are known endocrine disrupters, so just because there is no slam dunk evidence there is a lot of circumstantial and anecdotal evidence that indicates a problem with these substances.

Plus, the people who avoid them are almost invariably healthier, so taking steps to avoid them seems to have positive effects anyways.

by airhead9698 hours ago

I went to glass containers for food storage and transfer food out of plastic packaging as soon as possible.

Precocious puberty: I had a mental health hit (near collapse) from something that happened in my mid 20's. I started dating the stepdaughter of a neighbor (upper-middle class area) who said she was 19, and she definitely seemed it by being smart, chill, age-mature, sensible, and fully-developed (Tanner V). Lo and behold: she was not 17, 16, or 15, but 12. 12! WTH? I felt awful, ashamed, and like a perv monster. Thankfully, nothing illegal progressed but it was way too close and that would've been the end of my life. The worst part was I really liked, respected, got along with, and was attracted to her. Why, human condition, why? Torture. Sigh.

by pb78 hours ago

You confused a middle schooler for a 19 year old? Yikes.

by airhead9697 hours ago

Confused? No. She passed herself off as that, acted, and looked the part completely. Size D. Extreme precocious puberty. You would've been fooled too, so please don't judge with perfect knowledge and 20/20 hindsight from afar if you weren't there.

by pb77 hours ago

> acted

I have a very hard time believing a 12 year old can pass as a 19 year old in maturity. What knowledge or experience can a 12 year old offer to a mid 20s individual to appear intelligent, as you claim?

> You would've been fooled too

Zero chance. In my mid 20s, I already considered 19 year olds to be far too removed in life stages to consider seriously and the maturity gap between a 12 year old and an 19 year old is astronomical.

+1
by forgetfulness7 hours ago

Charitably, maybe our colleague here has some type of personality or even neurological disorder that would allow him to, earnestly, bond with a 12 year old as a partner rather than a child acquaintance.

A disorder that he should get treated because that poses a danger to others and, eventually, himself.

Given the astonishing justifications he gives I'd say his psych and he have a lot of work ahead.

+1
by airhead9695 hours ago

My life experiences have nothing to do with ignorant generalizations or what you think is impossible. You can either accept what I describe with benefit of the doubt, or you can be a prick trying to moralize, judge, and castigate from the comfort of the armchair quarterback chair. It's your choice.

+1
by slipper6 hours ago

You have a hard time believing it possible, so it can't be true?

Are you aware that many models you see in magazines are only in their early teens, made to look older with makeup?

by slipper6 hours ago

If she was biologically mature, being attracted to her doesn't mean you are a pedophile. Attraction is a result of biology, not of man-made laws. It would of course still be illegal to date her. The last psychiatrist has written about that, but I couldn't find it right away.

by DC13506 hours ago

This dude dated a middle school girl in his mid 20s and his only defence is that her breasts were so big he didn’t notice she was 12. He might not be a pedophile by definition, but he is still a child predator.

by slipper3 hours ago

It sounds as if he stopped when he found out about her age. You shouldn't let your fantasies rule your judgments.

by DC13506 hours ago

Is this a joke? Why are you admitting to being attracted to 12 year old girls on here?

> I felt awful, ashamed, and like a perv monster.

You are

by Flow16 hours ago

Related:

"Chemicals in plastics damage babies' brains and must be banned immediately (cnn.com)"

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26211605

by terse_malvolio14 hours ago

If only plastic utensils and other plastic one-use expendables had never been taken as good idea in the first place

by Flow13 hours ago

I think many health problems are related to not a few single causes, but to a cocktail of problems, some chemical, other purely lifestyle(sleep, food, exercise).

It's humbling how much AND little we know about processes in the body. Just read the article and comments some days ago about antidepressants. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26197140

by slipper6 hours ago

Except most babies seem to be fine, so maybe the fear is overblown?

I think it should be kept in check, as it seems all sorts of nasty stuff can be mixed into plastic. But many plastics seem to be fine.

There is also poisonous stuff in plants, including wood.

by cblconfederate15 hours ago

And what are the behavioral effects of such large physiological changes en masse? Surely neurochemical changes will manifest everywhere, from mental health to politics

by mekkkkkk13 hours ago

Shorter attention spans, more lethargy, lower overall intelligence. You could point at a number of cultural and political developments over the last decades and argue that these neurochemical changes could be a contributing factor. However, it must be pretty much impossible to know for sure. The supposed effects are too intangible and the compounds are too pervasive. We can only speculate.

by cblconfederate10 hours ago

This might well be true, and there may be a measurable correlation if someone is willing to investigate it.

However i m not sure what s the way forward: policies to reverse this health crisis, or adapt politics to this new reality?

by mekkkkkk8 hours ago

If the causality is correct, then this "new" reality is already here. Hence, adaptation is too currently happening. Big policy changes to curb plastic use is only a favor for our grandkids.

by esja15 hours ago

Can these endocrine disruptors also contribute to gender dysphoria?

by fogihujy13 hours ago

It sounds plausible that anything with the ability to disturb hormone production could also indirectly affect things like sexuality and one's gender identity. A quick googling suggests it has been suggested before, and that it's a highly controversial topic as it indicates that something is inherently wrong with being transgender.

At best, it's something that needs much more research before any conclusions can be drawn.

by zug_zug8 hours ago

As somebody with a friend who has gender stuff going on, I can tell you the friend just wants an honest answer out of science and couldn't care less about indirect implications.

by fogihujy7 hours ago

It doesn't affect me at all either, but I'd still be cautious before making any claims hinting that being trans is a medical condition -- if it does indeed turn out to be related, then it could turn a lot of people's lives upside down.

+1
by pb77 hours ago

> being trans is a medical condition

Curious, what else is it if not that? Eczema is also a medical condition too but we don't shame people for having it. Medical conditions shouldn't carry the implication that you're a broken person as a result of it.

by cblconfederate9 hours ago

Given that there isn't a dramatic increase of homosexual population, its probably not a major cause. In fact IIRC homosexual men with high T tend to be "more exclusively homosexual".

It doesn't help that most research on the subject seems to be from the 70s, and i don't find many recent studies. ( I guess, because contemporary science)

by cwkoss4 hours ago

Gender dysphoria is usually associated with gender identity rather than sexual preference.

by cblconfederate3 hours ago

there would be a significant correlation however

+1
by pseudalopex2 hours ago

Only if the mechanism is the same.

by kleer00110 hours ago

Probably not Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria. That's social.

Additionally transexuals have appeared in every extant civilization. Some women have felt more like themselves passing as men and some men have felt more themselves passing as women. From Indian to Chinese to Native Americans there's always been people like that. I'm pretty sure any impression of there being more of them is due to news cycles, fast communications, and increasing overall empathy.

by ReactiveJelly9 hours ago

As mentioned in the sibling comment

"it's a highly controversial topic as it indicates that something is inherently wrong with being transgender."

Whether ROGD exists or not, there isn't going to be useful discourse about it on public social media, where 99.9% of the time anyone talking about "endocrine disruptors" or "ROGD" or "social contagion" is only using it to invalidate the entire notion of being trans. Sometimes because their child is questioning their gender and they want to shut that down without just having a parent-child conversation about it.

Did environmental microplastics and soy milk and Wifi radiation and being friends with trans people make me into a woman?

We can raise that hypothesis in good faith, but I'm not going to quit transitioning even if it turns out to be true.

by pseudalopex2 hours ago

The evidence for ROGD is 1 study. It assumed teenagers tell their parents everything. And selected for parents who refused to accept their children coming out as trans.

by dukeofdoom8 hours ago

I followed this girl on youtube that built a tiny house in the mountains. She carries her own water, makes bread from wheat she mills, makes her own hummus and cabbage and eats copious amounts of each and vegetables. Hardly has phone/internet service because she lives in a mountain valley. Plays music with friends, reads and does yoga for entertainment. Surprise, surprise. You are your habits! She looks very fit and healthy. I'm not advocating for traditionalism, but more like, optimizing your habits.

The simple basic, inexpensive things she does, and eats are pretty optimized for health and personal growth.

Isabel's Channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4cght8xNnI

by hobo_mark8 hours ago

If she didn't look very fit and healthy, you would not be following her on youtube, and would not know she existed, even with the same lifestyle.

by Majestic1217 hours ago

I don't know if you've ever been to the mountains[1], but if you do you'll find out most of the people living there are and look super healthy, even (especially) at an advanced age.

The main difference I can see between my experience and the one of the youtube girl is that people in the mountain don't necessarily eat what would be considered healthy, but a lot of meat and animal products.

It definitely deserves more actual research, but a mountain lifestyle does seem to push towards regular exercise, which in turn provides overall good health.

As a singular data point, you can see from BMI comparisons that countries with mountains (Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy) fare pretty good in comparison to others: https://www.euronews.com/2019/05/09/which-country-has-the-hi...

[1] At least the Alps

by watwut2 hours ago

We have mountains here and they don't look all that super healthy. They also tend to be poor.

by dukeofdoom8 hours ago

Thats true to a degree. But I'm betting many unfit people would get fit if adapting the same diet/lifestyle habits.

by Balgair8 hours ago

Anecdata: As quarantine drags on, I've stopped eating fast-food/restaurants and only eat things that I 'make'. I'm not going to say that it's healthy food, because I like cookies and beer and burgers. But just not eating fast food resulted in ~20lbs lost. I sleep better, I'm not as exhausted in the early afternoon, and I just 'feel' better. We'll see how post-pandemic life goes, but I'm going to try to stay on this diet at least.

by tuckerpo8 hours ago

Shoddy endogenous androgen production in men is likely a function of excess adipose tissue causing higher rates of aromatization of T to estrogen

Being overweight or obese makes it more difficult to lose weight and put on muscle, a feedback loop

Clean diet and regular exercise goes a very long way, but nutrient deficient soil is making micro-nutrient deficiencies more difficult to resolve. Anecdotally, eating a whole foods diet consistent of high quality protein usually sourced from local farms (I'm in rural upstate NY), I still find myself needing to supplement magnesium, zinc, D3 and K2.

by haspoken1 day ago
by protoman300015 hours ago

On this topic I can recommend the dystopian movie “Children of Men”. It’s about modern world of basically our time where nobody can get children and what issues arise.

by mk4p6 hours ago

A friend of mine is working on a supplement that may help in this regard, at least on the female part of the equation.

> There is a a very interesting substance that could also increase fertility: nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN).

https://novoslabs.com/can-nmn-supplements-restore-fertility/

(Disclaimer: I've invested in his company)

by mvh6 hours ago

My dad (professor at University of Arizona) interviewed Shanna Swan, a scientist profiled in this article, recently. Anyone interested can find the episode here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/reproductive-health-sh...

by esja4 hours ago

Some of the other episodes look great as well. Thanks for sharing!

by godmode201912 hours ago

I don't have any data but I wonder if stuff like this will affect the gene pool. If the cause is environmental then it shouldnt have an affect. But genes are weird considering epigenetics.

Almost like the the movie 'Children of men'

by tracker115 hours ago

Generations of low dietary fat, franken-foods and just eating garbage. Plastics, it's all part of it.

by ahstilde8 hours ago

https://www.givelegacy.com/ is helping men protect their fertility.

by kyrieeschaton7 hours ago

Please add this to the column of "things evil right wing twitter anons were investigating years beforehand", so you can update your estimates of their future credibility.

by chiefalchemist12 hours ago

Correct me if I'm wrong but being overweight or obese is an endocrine disruptor. Such conditions exist in what ~50%+ of USA adults. Worse there are children growing up who are effectively unhealthy from age 5 forward.

Add in other disruptors (e.g., chemicals) and naturally there are going to be problems; problems despite the narrative, are not due to the healthcare system.

by amanaplanacanal11 hours ago

It wouldn’t surprise me if we discover that the exogenous disrupters are causing the high obesity rate.

by chiefalchemist10 hours ago

Causing? Maybe. Contributing to? Probably. Toss is compromised gut bacteria (due to other environmental factors) and it all adds up.

That said, drinking soda as if it's water, regularly consuming junk "food", as well as going weeks without breaking a sweat is a great foundation to build such a crisis of convergence on.

by cblconfederate7 hours ago

This is not limited to US men, similar pattern everywhere in western world

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sperm-count-dropp...

by chiefalchemist2 hours ago

Well, it's the Western diet. The US created and exported so we're ahead by a decade or so. But yes, the USA isn't the only country eating itself to death. Slowly.

by tzone10 hours ago

In the list of: "practical suggestions" in the article, they talk about literally everything except for weight-loss and getting in shape.

by ecmascript15 hours ago

Some time ago I realized that modern life wasn't that good for your health so last year I bought a farm on the country side with my gf and now we are trying to grow our own food and make our way into a more self-sustainable life.

by ThisIsTheWay5 hours ago

I'm interested in this. Care to share more about how you learned? How do you handle water collection, filtration, and distribution? What types of fertilizers are you using to improve the nutrients in your growing soil? What crops are you growing, and are you managing livestock?

by fogihujy12 hours ago

My family and I did the same a few years ago. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

by DC13509 hours ago

Why do you think the solution is farm life and not something more primitive?

by tubularhells14 hours ago

Jokes on you, my sperm count fell 100% three years ago, and I like it that way.

by simonebrunozzi12 hours ago

How comes? A disease, a condition, or what?

by thrwyoilarticle12 hours ago

I think OP is hinting at a vasectomy.

by cblconfederate7 hours ago

technically not a drop in sperm count

by curation7 hours ago

I think of it as evolution.

by bpodgursky17 hours ago

Would it be... unreasonable... to point out that the fall in sperm quality, egg quality, and overall hormonal disruption is happening concurrent with a blurring of overall gender identification, predominantly in the youngest generation?

Identification as trans or other non-binary status is incredibly high among the gen-z cohort. Might be unrelated social upheaval, but would anyone really be surprised if we weren't accidentally hormonally poisoning children at the same time they are developing their own gender identities?

by inglor_cz15 hours ago

I am dismayed, but not entirely surprised, that you are getting downvoted for this.

If we really have hormonal disruption of the ecosystem strong enough that alligators have problems breeding, why wouldn't it influence human behavior? Hormones influence human behavior all the time, so if there is a change in the balance, there should be a change in the behavior patterns.

This is a testable hypothesis and should not be discarded automatically without being tested, especially by HN forists who are expected to be, on average, more friendly towards critical thinking and less towards dogmatism.

by foobar3333315 hours ago

I don't think we can come anywhere close to ruling this out but of course we also don't know how many people felt this way before and hid it so the data is far to muddy to make a clear conclusion.

by arp24215 hours ago

I don't think Caitlyn Jenner is gen-Z, or The Wachowskis.

I mean, maybe there is a link? It's not inconceivable I suppose, but I am not aware of any evidence, and purely comparing numbers of people is not a very good way of going about this. You will find there are a lot more gay people in the United States than in, say, Saudi Arabia too. But that doesn't mean there are environmental factors in the US that make people gay: they just don't feel free to declare themselves as such in SA because you will get in to trouble.

by CryptoPunk15 hours ago

It's also entirely possible that cultural factors can influence the number of people who develop a homosexual sexual orientation. Humans are highly malleable and affected by culture.

by pseudalopex4 hours ago

Not malleable enough for conversion therapy to work.

by DoreenMichele15 hours ago

It's not unreasonable to speculate that it may be one factor. It is unreasonable to implicitly assert that it's the only factor and the clear singular cause.

by eightails13 hours ago

> It is unreasonable to implicitly assert that it's the only factor and the clear singular cause

Sure, but did op assert that? I didn't read it that way.

by DoreenMichele13 hours ago

It's a distinction that doesn't require the OP to have done any such thing for the distinction to be meaningful. Making a distinction about what is or is not a reasonable inference when someone asks isn't the same thing as accusing them of anything.

+1
by eightails13 hours ago

I agree, but in that case why bother? In replying with such a distinction, the assumption is that you're actually responding directly to the op, not just quoting truisms.

by dragonwriter15 hours ago

> Identification as trans or other non-binary status is incredibly high among the gen-z cohort.

The highest study estimate I've seen is 3%, almost all others are between 0.7% and 1%, with even boomers around 0.5%. (For Gen-Z kids, parental belief that children are trans or have non-binary identity is many times higher, though, but that's clearly more about social priming than “hormonal poisoning”.)

> Might be unrelated social upheaval,

To the extent there is an increase at all, it's probably increased awareness of the concept providing a framework to fit into than any “hormonal poisoning”.

by pseudalopex4 hours ago

3% included people just questioning their gender identity.[1]

[1] https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/141/3/e201716...

by konjin16 hours ago

You're only allowed to write vague doomsday articles about things that people like to hate. It's pretty funny that you're downvoted for using exactly the same type of vague fear mongering that the article does but because you did it towards unacceptable targets peoples incredulity kicked in.

I wish people would use their ability to think in all cases, not just when they disagree with the conclusion. And if you're about to flag and downvote this because you think I'm being *ist, you are exactly the problem since I did nothing of the sort.

by mikkelam15 hours ago

Is this really so bad? Assuming humans are hit the hardest, the planet will be better off.

Obviously we wouldn't want it to kill our civilization, but for the mean time, it doesn't sound so bad with less homo sapiens

by cblconfederate15 hours ago

1. This is happening in the western world, not in places the population is growing fastest

2. It's not just less humans, it s of worse quality

by yakshemash14 hours ago

1. The per capita environmental footprint is at least an order of magnitude, if not closer to two, higher in the western world 2. The subtext of this point is so distasteful to me that I can't figure out how to engage with it. How do you measure the quality of a human?

by cblconfederate10 hours ago

I mean health-wise, as the article says. You measure it with objective measures. I m not sure why it s distasteful to you?

by Rompect10 hours ago

> How do you measure the quality of a human

Net worth obviously. Riffraff are mostly worthless creatures.

by arrayjumper14 hours ago

> 2. It's not just less humans, it s of worse quality

what do you mean by this? that humans not of the western world are "lower quality"?

by algorias11 hours ago

I think GP meant that lower egg quality leads to more birth defects, etc. So not just fewer humans born, but those born have more problems. A statement which is completely independent from point 1.

by 4gotunameagain12 hours ago

I assumed that this characterization in this context meant "less capable to protect Earth/environment/humanity", which is not too controversial given the inverse correlation between average education level and birthrates

by cblconfederate10 hours ago

No , i mean lower sperm/egg quality. Why are people quick to jump to extreme conclusions here?

by dragonelite13 hours ago

jeez point 2, western chauvinism strikes again.

by Lammy15 hours ago

What global human population could we stabilize at in a climate change and/or ecological collapse worst-case? Personally my guess is around 500 million or so.

by nemo44x13 hours ago

We see similar things happening with digestive diseases between the West and Asia. Diverticulitis is pretty rare in Asia (and Africa for that matter) and fairly common in the West. But what’s interesting is that it is just as common for Asians that move to the West after about 12 years or so which rules out genetics. Additionally we are seeing it occur in younger and younger people. This was once a disease for ages 60+ and now it’s not uncommon to find it in people in their 40’s and 30’s and occasionally their 20’s now!

It’s assumed the types of foods more common in a Western diet are the cause of this but there isn’t concrete proof. It’s a strong hypothesis though.

It’s thought the main cause is foliage ingestion, or lack of. People in Asia and Africa eat a lot more plants which are high in fiber.

So I don’t think it’s just obesity and being overweight that are the issue but how we get obese and overweight and I believe that all this, from infertility to early onset of digestive diseases are related in large part to our diets.

by esja4 hours ago

Similar effects have been seen with Multiple Sclerosis. People of the same genetic background who move to Western countries are more likely to develop MS than those who stay behind. I can’t remember the specific countries unfortunately.

by master_yoda_14 hours ago

And the great paywall

by gadders15 hours ago

something something Alex Jones something something

//edit// This is semi-facetious, but he did mention something similar in his, er, unique fashion.

by barbacoa10 hours ago

He also would rant about jeffrey epstein years before the media caught on.

by sneak17 hours ago

Related: http://vhemt.org/

(one of the oldest websites on this here internet, as well.)

by heyoni16 hours ago

The point of that movement is to restore balance to earth, but what’s the value in doing so if no one is around to appreciate it? There’s really no difference one way or the other; it’s just a sphere in the universe.

by scbrg15 hours ago

The biosphere consists of more individuals than just humans. The argument is that humans, specifically, do quite a lot more harm than good to the rest of earth's population.

With perhaps a few exceptions, most other species would be much better off without us.

by adrianN14 hours ago

Humans are with high probability the only chance Earth's ecosystem has of surviving the death of the Sun.

by inter_netuser16 hours ago

This affects not only humans, but the entire ecosystems.

This disruption is happening right now, and is the cause of the die off of many species.

It's a true emergency. TODAY.

by techbio16 hours ago

Preservation of state is not a feature of evolution, and as elegant and informative a theory as it may be, it has as long a history of negative selection as of positive survival.

by inter_netuser13 hours ago

Are you condoning the destruction of our earth for short term profits?

by techbio5 hours ago

I cannot believe you think my opinion is going to alter the profit motive, but no, for what it's worth, I am not condoning the destruction of the earth. I'm describing a way to think about our influence on the environment that is most likely to actually happen.

by dragosmocrii17 hours ago

Damn, having watched Children of Men recently, this article is chilling

by federona17 hours ago

The biggest problem we have is we keep making things that we have no idea of the consequences and then to get rid of them takes a while because industry says no we can't do this, there will be too much economic damage. Same with all environmental issues, the speed of damage is much faster than the ability to control the economics created as a result. As a result unless something is shown to be immediately fatal, it's hard to prove without a doubt it's fatal and often the damage done is cumulative and distributed across the whole industry. There is no easy solution to this.

by King-Aaron17 hours ago

Upvote for one of the (in my opinion) best movies of our time

by m_eiman17 hours ago

That movie is terribly depressing, and terribly good.

by ggreer16 hours ago

> Now Swan, an epidemiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, has written a book, “Count Down,” that will be published on Tuesday and sounds a warning bell.

This article is a submarine[1] for some guy’s book.

1. http://www.paulgraham.com/submarine.html

by forgotmypw1715 hours ago

Sure, but it is also true.

by cortexio15 hours ago

Cant read the article because it's behind a stupid paywall, posts like that should be banned because it's basically a commercial. Anyway, i think the falling sperm counts is probably from being inside all the time, lack of physical exercise and overdose on dopamine.

by yters10 hours ago

Could all the porn consumption and masturbation be a factor? Also I have heard contraceptive use in the past can affect female fertility. There is also potential leakage of contraceptives into our water supply.

by FriendlyNormie15 hours ago

Are any of you imbeciles who are suddenly pretending to care so much about this issue humble enough to admit that you’re stupid cunts for mocking Alex Jones for being the only person to point this out over the past fifteen years? Now no one will take the issue seriously despite a news outlet whose dick you DO suck reporting on it because everyone’s already been conditioned through your past ridicule to fear being associated with woo woo man if they take this seriously. Good job you fucking absolute retarded faggots.

by NIGGERISH15 hours ago

“Climate change is one exception“

Lol... Every damn time.

by NIGGERISH15 hours ago

“Climate change is one exception“

Lol every time...

by GameOfKnowing16 hours ago

Trans community is way ahead of you, bud...

by o_p17 hours ago

Why so pessimist? One plastic a day keeps the vasectomy away

by RGamma16 hours ago

The planet is ridding itself of its disease, beautiful.

by dang16 hours ago

Please don't do this here.

by Rompect10 hours ago

Sorry to disappoint you, but the population is still going to rise, since this is not a global phenomenon. The areas with the already highest birth rates are not significantly affected.

by Darmody14 hours ago

If you consider humans a disease, would you be ok with someone killing you? Because that's what you do to a disease, you get rid of it.

by RGamma13 hours ago

I'm thinking in terms of an organism going against its own ecosystem.

Imagine if a new species of killer ant evolved that has no natural predators, procreates quickly and eats up its habitat. For a short while it's going to be the greatest species in its ecosystem...

Of course we likely wouldn't see such an ant because it would have wiped itself out by resource exhaustion unless it adapted (or e.g. a natural predator came about).

An ant couldn't do much about its biological makeup or its instincts and so nature would run its course; it lacks self-awareness and general intelligence.

Now imagine humanity, posessing these traits, would recognize that it itself is the killer ant and would organize itself with their great scientific and economic prowess and with the same fervor it discusses about banalities during this - historically speaking - mild pandemic (mild in the sense that coronavirus is not the black death, not mild in the sense that so many people died unnecessarily due to our own shortcomings) to not eat their habitat. Or it would stop constantly working against its self-imposed conflicting incentives in poltics or the economy. Or it would stop trapping hundreds of millions of people in self-serving mind cages optimizing for metrics that make no sense and pondering about how to best mind control their userbase. Or it would stop allocating so many resources (money) towards fads, consumption crap and get-rich-quick schemes.

The pandemic forced our hands, it couldn't be kicked down the road for some later time (an excellent motivator!) and so we adapted; unfortunately biosphere degradation as a whole does not yet, which is why our reaction is so sluggish and overconsumption or pollution are still mostly seen as some optional or cosmetic problem (but at least they're seen, I guess).

And no, many solutions offered by businesses are none: replacing hundreds of millions of cars with hundreds of millions of other cars? Replacing plastic straws in fast food restaurants with paper ones while the food served there is subsidized by an agricultural industry with ridiculous land use (just look at current satellite maps... holy crap).

The patient earth is ill and treating overconsumption with another (more nicely dressed) form of overconsumption is symptomatic at best and a distraction. If you're a smoker the only thing you can do to truly cure the ailments is to fix the root cause and stop smoking, not take pills to mask the symptoms.

I hope one of these days a critical mass realizes that modern manufactured-demand capitalism has run its course or we're in for a bad time (the more sensitive individuals already are). But I suppose that would entail realizing that so many of us dependent on it have been living a lie.

/rant (not really related to parent, so sorry if you felt antagonized, but I had to let this out somewhere whew)

P.S. Somewhat related to the article: I recently discovered these good looking closed aquariums called ecosphere. Turns out if you put higher organisms like shrimp in there they won't procreate due to bad environmental conditions.

by Darmody12 hours ago

  "Imagine if a new species of killer ant evolved that has no natural predators, procreates quickly and eats up its habitat. For a short while it's going to be the greatest species in its ecosystem..."
That happened long before humans existed and we still have animals with no natural predators.

Also earth is not a patient. Earth doesn't care about you or about the ecosystems. Many years ago there was no life on earth and in the future life will be gone and the earth won't mind at all-

by RGamma4 hours ago

The depletion of the ecosystem is crucial for my example (no animal does that without consequences for itself or its environment)

Earth being a patient was metaphorical speech. And sure we can be nihilistic about it, at which point all is said and done.

The hope is we don't recklessly risk throwing away the results of millions of years of natural evolution and thousands of years of cumulative cultural achievement because capitalism overvalues consumer convenience. That's idiocracy-level kind of shit.

by DC13509 hours ago

It’s called the globohomo agenda and they want to make you weak so you can’t fight back.

by randomopining5 hours ago

Yeah pretty much. But I don’t think it’s insidious.

They just need weak people who will bow to every “pop culture” norm they create to buy the latest stuff.

Strong individualists or even even keel/healthy ones will realize they don’t need much and don’t need to do much to enjoy life.

Weak people need something to grasp onto to give them meaning. Muh new toys, muh new car, muh racism, muh social justice, muh politics, muh cardi b, muh $14 drinks at the bar.

by NelsonMinar9 hours ago

No, the globohomo agenda is turning all the cute young men gay. Not you, from your words I can tell you're ugly.

by DC13509 hours ago

This comment is not appropriate for HN.

by selimthegrim8 hours ago

It was a tongue-in-cheek response to the parent (you)

by puppable9 hours ago

I don't see what Devo has to do with this...

by refurb17 hours ago

As a scientist I hate articles like this. Apparently putting the word “may” in the title allows one to pontificate wildly about what might be the cause of falling sperm rates and other reproductive trends.

Little to no comments about other possible causes, no data that shows a relationship between “endocrine disruptors” and sperm counts, no comments about levels of these chemicals in the population or what levels they become active at.

After reading the article all I can firmly conclude is: 1) reproductive changes are happening, 2) endocrine disruptors are suspected, but there is no direct evidence.

Not very helpful.

by DoingIsLearning17 hours ago

The blanket statement of 'endocrine disruptors' takes away clarity.

They mainly refer to Bisphenol and Pthalates which are present in the majority of Plastics and cleaning products/cosmetics. These compounds are chemically too similar to estrogen and are processed by your body in pretty much the same way as the female hormone.

Evidence on the health effects of Bisphenol and Pthalates:

- Influence in hormone dependent types of cancer https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31471387/

- Influence in Cardiovascular disease https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32438096/

- Influence in Female and male fertility https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31238688/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32046352/

- Cofactor in Diabetes https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31286379/

by refurb15 hours ago

Not going to lie but that 2nd reference is terrible. It’s a meta-analysis and a bunch of the odds ratios overlap with 1 (no effect).

I’m not saying endocrine disruptors are harmless, but multiple things need to be proven before you can make any conclusions:

1. A specific endocrine disruptor has a negative biological effect.

2. That specific disruptor is found in common items.

3. That specific disruptor can be leeched out of that item through normal use.

4. The amount leeched out actually gets into the body.

5. The amount that gets into the body is at a high enough level to cause a toxic effect.

I see cell or animal data for #1, #2, but I don’t see data for #3,4,5.

by jeffreyrogers7 hours ago

If there is anecdotal and circumstantial evidence that something is bad for you, and most of the people who avoid that thing are visibly healthier than those who don't, shouldn't you avoid it out of caution?

This is also a sensitive topic to research because it impacts an enormous part of the economy if these things are shown to be harmful, and in many cases there are not good substitutes that are safe and economical.

Edit: And if you disagree with my first point, are you consistent in your own life, e.g. did you treat coronavirus with the same skepticism? How about mask wearing? There's not much high quality of evidence on masks, or at least there wasn't early on.

by refurb55 minutes ago

You missed my point. I said nothing about avoiding these chemicals. My comment was around claiming a connection with no supported data.

No, I don’t put much weight on anecdotal and circumstantial evidence. If we’re going to “follow the science” then it needs to be well supported science, no some person’s claim how they feel better after avoiding some perceived toxin.

by vmception17 hours ago

My publicist used to do this all the time. We'd even go as far as ghostwriting the articles ourselves.

This is an advertisement for the epidemiologist's book, which may contain the depth of information you are looking for.

by dehrmann17 hours ago

You might be right.

> Now Swan, an epidemiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, has written a book, “Count Down,” that will be published on Tuesday and sounds a warning bell.

And it's a book that just happens to be coming out this week. In the opinion column.

by vmception16 hours ago

Yeah, there is nothing “organic”

We would even get listicles published where our service was like third or even tenth in the listicles

So if I was this author, and I imagined people wanted to learn more about “endocrine disruptors”, my book would be third in the list of books about endocrine disruptors on someone’s blog or respected site.

These arent necessarily paid for so I guess you dont need it to say its advertisement, the authors are just in the publicist’s network

The beauty of listicles and even articles like this one is that its not even about engagement. Like, sure your google results are going to look phenomenal but that just disarms paranoid people you date that will search your name, the article still is not even seeking organic hoards of people yet. Being mentioned along side competitors or elusive people in your field is way more powerful and makes it easier to open a dialogue with them. Like “oh hey we’re both recognized lets go on msnbc together”

by refurb15 hours ago

I noticed the book mention as well. I immediately figured it was a PR play.

by CryptoPunk15 hours ago

I wonder if the divergence between Asian and Western countries in sperm count is due to cultural reasons. Maybe the fall of traditional culture in the West, and all the allowances it made for male behavior, has had psychological effects that have something to do with it.

Plastics are massively used in Asia, which is why I speculate the cause could be psychological as opposed to chemical.

by yudlejoza16 hours ago

Pick a random essential nutrient. For instance, take zinc.

Human body needs it. It needs to be taken in. You need to ensure the right food items, or the right supplements, doesn't matter.

Where does that source come from? plants? animals? imported? produced? What goes into that? What's the prevalent intake level in developed countries? developing countries? what should be the right intake level? where (which parts of the world) do we have excess? where do we have deficiency?

How is zinc flushed? where does it go? rivers? recycled? ends up in ocean?

Keep going. And you realize there is a massive, highly complex, global zinc-supply-chain-cycle that has a crucial role in zinc ingestion in different parts of the world. And that's just one of the hundred or so nutrients.

Now multiply that with all the rest of the nutrients and nutrient groups. It's a behemoth of a multi-nutrient-supply-chain-cycle! Somewhere there's tremendous waste going on. Somewhere else there's tremendous deficiency going on, resulting in, possibly idiopathic, diseases among whole groups of people.

Now (the most important and the most interesting part) turn that "scientific" (observed) system into an "engineered" (planned) one!

Go figure!

by hef1989814 hours ago

Or just stop, or reduce as much as possible, the amount of crap we eat? There is no reason why meat has to be that low cost. Or that we cannot cook ourselves with fresh ingredients, ideally grown and sourced locally.

Nutrition, being a basic of human survival, has been sovled for millenias. We just lost it with pushing industrialized food production, of any kid, way to far over the point needed to get rid of starvation.

by DoreenMichele14 hours ago

Nutrition, being a basic of human survival, has been sovled for millenias.

Humans were mostly subsistence cultures for millennia (which means a period of a thousand years, so you are saying we solved this thousands of years ago). We routinely starved to death and only recently figured out something called "nutrients" exist in food. It isn't that long ago we discovered Vitamin C as the cure for scurvy and it's the reason we have nicknames like "limeys."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limey

That's from the 1850s. Not from two thousand years ago.

by Aerroon11 hours ago

Another example of a nutritional disease is beriberi. It plagued the Japanese Navy in the 19th century:

>Beriberi was a serious problem in the Japanese navy: Sailors fell ill an average of four times a year in the period 1878 to 1881, and 35% were cases of beriberi.

It was caused by a vitamin B1 deficiency. Sailors were eating mainly white rice (polished) rather than brown rice (unpolished) while underway. A more varied diet eventually fixed the problem.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiamine_deficiency

by DoreenMichele11 hours ago

We are currently researching the role of various nutrients in vulnerability to Covid. (Vitamin D and zinc seem to be the most salient nutrients for trying to reduce vulnerability, which is not the same thing as "curing" it.)

We have barely scratched the surface on the topic of nutrition and disease.

by dqv10 hours ago

I'm currently in the process of reducing animal product intake. I'm going about it methodically to make it into an actual habit rather than a fad where I give up a month or two later.

What really got me to accept that maybe animal products might be detrimental is Dr. Gregor talking about the exogenous endotoxin theory. Dead bacteria in your food, no matter how or how long you cook it, will produce an inflammatory response. Animal fat may assist these endotoxins due to the structure of the gut wall.[0]

When it was put into these terms, it makes it way more apparent. The plan is to reduce consumption of animal products and when I do want to eat meat, get it from a high quality source with a lower endotoxin load.

[0]: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dead-meat-bacteria-endotoxe...

by DC13509 hours ago

Lots of doctors also recommended an all meat diet. Try both and see how you feel.

by dqv6 hours ago

I'd have to see a pretty strong argument disproving the exogenous endotoxin theory before I'd consider an all meat diet. It also sounds like it's a pretty low-fiber diet which isn't ideal.

by hef198988 hours ago

Personally, I stick with what could be called evlution. Humans are omnivores, so I aim for a mixed and balanced diet, vegitables, meat, fish, animal products like eggs and diary, pasta... Preferred cooked at home and baught locally (e.g. local farms, even if it is through a super market).

by csmattryder13 hours ago

> Or that we cannot cook ourselves with fresh ingredients, ideally grown and sourced locally.

Anecdotally, over the last four years I went from eating pre-packaged ready meals every day to knowing my local butcher and cooking properly, and I feel a thousand times better than I used to.

People ask what future generations will cringe about from our lives today and prepackaged foods, ready meals, and fast-food will be my pick. Zapping a plastic container in a microwave for 3 minutes cannot be good for the food, the container or human eating it.

by xorfish11 hours ago

> Or just stop, or reduce as much as possible, the amount of crap we eat?

Finding out what crap is, is really really hard if you want to be scientific. It may be possible for some bigger categories.

Reducing is also really, really hard.

Nutrition hasn't been solved for millenia, humans just ate what they could eat, if they had enough.

by sep_field11 hours ago

I agree with you, though, there is no reason we need to eat meat at all. The cost to the planet is way too high. Vegetarian diets are far healthier for us and our Earth.

by yudlejoza14 hours ago

A simpleton tree-hugger mindset will automagically solve our biggest global challenges for 8 billion people in the 21st century. After all, it "feels" like it will work for millions, so it'll end up working for billions too. And it makes you feel all comfy and angelic inside.

Got it.

by amanaplanacanal11 hours ago

The problem is having 8 billion children to begin with. I don’t think that problem is solvable.

by yudlejoza3 hours ago

So you're saying big-tech and big-money hates scales and scalability?

Who do you think bought all those billions of android and apple phones and tablets?