A study published in Nature Reviews Endocrinology has linked decreasing fertility rates in humans to burning fossil fuels. The study established that childbirth has steadily declined over the past 50 years. Although the study focused on Denmark, many other nations seem to follow the trend.

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The study observed that one in every 10 Danish children are born with assisted reproduction. Further, over 20% of Danish men never have children. Apparently, these decreases started at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Related: 60% of Americans blame fossil fuel companies for climate change

Niels Erik Skakkebæk, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and one of the study’s authors, says that the trend threatens humanity as a whole. “We have to realise that we know all too little about infertility in the population so the next step forward would really be to find out why so many young couples do not have children,” Skakkebæk said.

While more research is needed, it seems fossil fuel pollution and environmental toxins may be contributing to various fertility issues. For instance, 74,000 yearly cases of testicular cancer witnessed each year contribute to the low fertility rate. Skakkebæk argues that trends like these cannot be explained genetically, as that kind of evolution takes place over long periods. Researchers are urging their fellow scientists to dig deeper and investigate the relationship between birth rates and pollution.

“What has struck me in this study was the finding that so much of modern life originates from fossil fuels,” said Skakkebæk. “We don’t think about it that way. When we buy a pair of shoes made of chemicals originally produced from fossil fuels.”

While research is still emerging on the links between fossil fuels and human health complications, some studies are being done on animals. For instance, studies show that rats and mice experience genetic changes that affect their reproductive health when exposed to toxic chemicals.

Via The Guardian

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