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

Scribner. Feb. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781982113667. $28. HEALTH
Leading environmental and reproductive epidemiologist Swan (Icahn Sch. of Medicine at Mount Sinai) collaborates with health and environmental journalist Colino in this thought-provoking account. They posit that chemicals found throughout the modern world are increasingly threatening human fertility, sexual development, gender expression, and overall health. The authors refer to recent studies, in which they highlight alarming trends: decreases in quality sperm counts in men, primarily in Western countries; or decreasing levels of testosterone that are driving more people to seek reproductive assistance technologies. Swan and Colino note that some other species face similar threats and are increasingly born with anatomical abnormalities that jeopardize their likelihood of survival. Readers concerned about fertility, exposure to harmful chemicals, or pollution’s impact on the environment will support Swan and Colino’s call to regulate the toxic chemicals that are likely interrupting reproductive cycles.
VERDICT Well-researched, with an extensive bibliography and a useful glossary of key concepts. A fast-paced account that offers myriad recommendations for lifestyle changes to reduce exposure to the chemicals that Swan and Colino identify as threats to the future of humankind.
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