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In 2017, a scientist 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. 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?
The scientist who led that research team, Dr. Shanna Swan, joins us now with her coauthor Stacey Colino in a conversation facilitated by Town Hall Senior Correspondent Steve Scher to unpack these startling discoveries. As contained in her book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race, Dr. Swan and her team examined 185 studies involving close to 45,000 healthy men. She and Colino share what they discerned about how both lifestyle and chemical exposures are affecting our fertility, sexual development, and general health as a species. With accessible explanations of the threats and repercussions, they presents an urgent wake-up call to action in protecting our future.
Shanna H. Swan, PhD, is an award-winning scientist based at Mt. Sinai and one of the leading environmental and reproductive epidemiologists in the world. Dr. Swan has published more than 200 scientific papers and has been featured in extensive media coverage around the world. Her appearances include ABC News, NBC Nightly News, 60 Minutes, CBS News, PBS, BBC, and NPR, as well as in leading magazines and newspapers, including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Time, and many more.
Stacey Colino is an award-winning writer specializing in health and environmental issues and a regular contributor to US News & World Report. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post Health section and in dozens of national magazines, including Newsweek, Parade, Woman’s Day, Sports Illustrated, and Good Housekeeping. She is the coauthor with David Katz of Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well; Strong is the New Skinny with Jennifer Cohen; Good Food Fast! with Jason Roberts; and Taking Back the Month with Diana Taylor.
Steve Scher is a podcaster, interviewer, and teacher. He worked in Seattle public radio for almost 30 years. He has taught at the University of Washington since 2009. He is Senior Correspondent for Town Hall Seattle’s In The Moment podcast.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle