By Still Hardy
Published April 10, 2018
If you eat meat from animals or plants which thrive on growth-enhancing hormones, or if you use birth control pills and pesticides, or use oestrogen-containing hair products, you could be exposing yourself to infertility.
Experts say men’s sperms have plummeted by nearly 50 percent in the last 60 years due to their exposure to endocrine-disrupting found in meat, birth control pills, pesticides and the environment.
Kenyan medical doctors interviewed on this subject say infertility is on the increase in the country due to people being exposed to unsafe levels of chemicals.
Nathan Thagana, a leading Nairobi gynaecologist and obstetrician, told us some time back that oestrogen-containing hair oils, pesticides and industrial chemicals were interfering with the reproductive systems of birds and animals world-wide.
“Pollution of the environment with chemicals has not only led to a decrease in men’s sperms but has also affected the quality of the sperms,” he said. “Research on the issue is hindered by a dearth of specialised equipment in this country.”
Wadegu Gwada, a gynaecologist, explained that most pesticides work by disrupting the reproductive systems of insects and that they have a similar effect on humans.
He said the level of exposure to harmful substances in Kenya could be higher than that in the West because, unlike the latter, most Kenyans do not know the dangers of chemicals and so do not usually protect themselves.
At the time, Khama Rogo, a gynaecologist who sat on the World Health Organisation’s advisory on reproductive health, said studies done in Europe showed that the quality and quantity of sperms is dropping but that this decline is negligible to cause infertility.
Saying male infertility is not caused by any known substance, Rogo said, “There may be chemicals if, when broken in the body, may affect reproduction. But we have not yet identified which ones they are.”
An article in Psychology Today magazine says that Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) – found in lubricants, dish washing liquids, electrical insulation, pesticides and plastics – not only mimic the sex hormone oestrogen but are stronger than the body’s oestrogen. PCBs, the article says, “may diminish the length of time a woman is fertile while blocking male hormones.”
While Paediatrics Medical Journal says that oestrogen-containing hair products as well as environmental chemicals that imitate oestrogen are responsible for the increased prevalence of early puberty among girls, other experts contend that exposing their male counterparts to certain chemicals at a critical time in their development could affect their sexuality. For instance, studies in Japan, The Netherlands and North America show that children born to mothers who ingested PCB-contaminated rice suffered from abnormally small penises.
Awake! magazine quotes WHO as saying that ‘hormonally sensitive’ cancers – prostate, testicular, breast – are linked to PCB exposure.
To reduce one’s exposure to chemicals, the magazine suggests you and I do the following:
• Store most chemicals that give off vapours – formaldehyde, paint, adhesive, pesticides, cleaning solutions – where they will not contaminate the home. Extended exposure to volatile chemicals – benzene- may lead to cancer, birth defects and malfunctioning reproductive systems
• Have good ventilation in all rooms
• Wipe your feet or remove your shoes before you step indoors
• Minimise your use of pesticides and other chemicals, and
• Have flaking leaded paint removed from all surfaces and repaint with unleaded paint.