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Re: newsflash: BBC reports falling sperm counts in america -Reply

  Mary wrote:
  >There is a Reuters report on the current news summary
  It bears posting the complete copy:
  Monday November 24 4:58 PM EST 
  Expert: Sperm Counts Falling Around the World
  By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent 
  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Modern living is hitting men right where it hurts 
  the most, with sperm counts falling more quickly than anyone thought, 
  U.S. researchers said Monday. 
  Experts who set out to dispel fears of falling sperm counts found they 
  were even lower than had been reported. 
  "I think this study will change the debate about sperm decline from 'if' 
  to 'why'," said Shanna Swan, chief of the reproductive epidemiology 
  section at the California Department of Health Services, who led the 
  The debate has been bubbling since 1992, when Niels Skakkebaek, 
  Elisabeth Carlsen and colleagues at Copenhagen University reported sperm 
  counts were falling around the world, based on an analysis of 61 
  different studies. 
  Their announcement caused a flurry of debate, and studies published 
  since have shown conflicting results. British research found that men 
  born in the 1970s had 25 percent fewer sperm than those born in the 
  1950s, while Harry Fisch of New York's Columbia-Presbyterian Medical 
  Center found men there had high sperm counts, with no evidence of a 
  Swan's group re-analyzed the 61 studies. 
  "Overall, in Europe and the United States there is a strong and 
  significant decline," she told Reuters. There could be regional 
  variations, which would account for the New York findings and similar 
  findings in Seattle and Finland, she added in an interview. 
  The National Institutes of Health agreed. 
  "Their analysis of data collected from 1938 to 1990 indicates that sperm 
  densities in the United States have exhibited an average annual decrease 
  of 1.5 million sperm per milliliter of collected sample, or about 1.5 
  percent per year," the NIH said in a statement. 
  "Those in European countries have declined at about twice that rate (3.1 
  percent per year)." 
  Sperm counts seemed to be going up slightly in developing countries, but 
  Swan said the data from these areas was sketchy and did not go back as 
  far as the U.S. and European results. Swan, whose findings will be 
  published in the journal of the National Institute of Environmental 
  Health Services, one of the NIH agencies, said she approached the task 
  expecting to disprove the theory. "When I first read Carlsen I was at 
  first, frankly, suspicious because of its simplicity," she said. 
  But after careful analysis, she changed her mind. 
  What is the cause? 
  "Once we rule out differences such as smoking, temperature, age and 
  ethnicity, what we will have left are environmental factors," Swan said. 
  She, and many other experts, blame persistent organic pollutants (POPs), 
  which range from pesticides such as DDT to industrial chemicals like 
  All have been shown to act like hormones such as estrogens, which can 
  either bring out feminine characteristics or work to counteract male 
  Swan is part of a National Academy of Sciences committee writing a 
  report on such chemicals. The Academy has not reviewed her sperm 
  Swan said fertility was not the big issue, as babies were still being 
  born. "However, sperm count is a marker, a red flag ... for testicular 
  cancer." she said. 
  In November 1996 the U.S. Congress passed legislation requiring the 
  Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) to develop ways to test 
  substances to see if they disrupt human or animal hormones. 
  In May, the European Environment Agency, European Commission, World 
  Health Organization and other organizations agreed there was an apparent 
  decline in sperm count in some countries, and evidence that rates of 
  testicular cancer were increasing. 
         _\\|//_                Alan Watson C.Eng                  
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