In 2017, author Shanna Swan and her team of researchers completed a major study. They found that over the past four decades, sperm levels among men in Western countries have dropped by more than 50 percent. They came to this conclusion after examining 185 studies involving close to 45,000 healthy men. The result sent shockwaves around the globe--but the story didn't end there. It turns out our sexual development is changing in broader ways, for both men and women and even other species, and that the modern world is on pace to become an infertile one. How and why could this happen? What is hijacking our fertility and our health? Count Down unpacks these questions, explaining the science and repercussions of these worldwide threats and providing simple and practical guidelines for effectively avoiding chemical goods (from water bottles to shaving cream) both as individuals and societies.
If you’ve smugly enjoyed the dystopian worlds of The Handmaid’s Tale (where infertility is triggered in part by environmental pollutants) or Children of Men (where humanity is on the precipice of extinction) — and believed that these stories were rooted firmly in fantasy — Shanna Swan’s Count Down will serve as an awakening ... Swan distills information harvested from hundreds of published studies and while some ring familiar, the conclusion she reaches hits hard. These chemicals are limiting the ability of current and future generations to have children. They could, ultimately, snuff out the human species altogether ... Count Down is an important book for anyone concerned about the environment, pollution, successful childbearing or declining health of the human species. Other than the pervasive chemical names, it is written in a casual, accessible style and will be of practical relevance to couples and young adults who are considering having a family ... But ultimately [Swan's] conclusion is a plea for swift national and global actions that ban the use of these chemicals and mitigate the effects of those that are impacting health and even life itself worldwide. Swan makes it clear that the future of many species, including our own, depends on it.
Accelerating problems with reproduction conjure frightful images of fertility-challenged future societies, such as the one depicted in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. A convincing plea for heightened awareness of rising reproductive jeopardy and the imperative of eliminating environmental toxins makes this book both alarming and crucial.
An urgent examination of a global problem that requires vastly more attention than it currently receives ... In this impeccably researched, cogent book, the author convincingly argues that if society’s trend toward a fertility rate below replacement level continues at the current pace, humans could become an endangered species ... The author’s passion for her work and access to reams of alarming data make for riveting reading, and her writing is crisp and unfettered by jargon ... An eye-opening, disturbing, empowering, and essential text.