A leading scientist has warned that chemicals found in many food, cosmetic and cleaning products pose a real threat to male fertility. Professor Richard Sharpe, of the Medical Research Council, says that these hormone-disrupting chemicals are "feminizing" boys in the womb, leading to rising rates of birth defects, testicular cancer, and low sperm counts.
It is thought that all these conditions, collectively called Testicular Dysgenesis Syndrome (TDS), are linked to disruption of the male sex hormone testosterone. Professor Sharpe concluded that exposure to a cocktail of hormone-disrupting chemicals in the environment is likely to be at least partly to blame by blocking the action of testosterone in the womb.
His latest report highlights animal studies showing that testosterone-disrupting chemicals can cause TDS-like disorders.