Ultimately we are in dire need of regulation of these substances, especially where there is food contact. I'm not very optimistic under trump. Someone clever though might be able to come up with a campaign about chemicals stealing your manhood that might resonate with conservative voters.
If you believe otherwise, I'm happy to ready any high quality studies you can find. Pleaes don't just cherry pick a few studies, be careful in doing your review.
the history of flame retardants is instructive https://ww2.kqed.org/science/2013/11/21/its-official-toxic-f...
if industry/government had been required to prove these things safe beforehand we would have never exposed the population them in the first place.
If one wanted they could surely distill many chemicals in isolation from these naturally occurring fruits and vegetables that in concentration would have many concerning health effects. The fact that many don't worry about this is largely because this research program has not been attempted.
Point being, there is no reason to hold any of these chemicals to a standard higher than that of a strawberry - that is, we can give people a bunch of strawberries and say any negative effect is below some acceptable level. And, in fact, we have found many "natural" foods containing absurdly high levels of arsenic and other dangerous compounds, and that has affected their preparation for consumption. The scientific process has in this way even outperformed the naturalism heuristic.
That's incorrect. We've coevolved with many of the foods we eat. Things like strawberries and broccolli have been, more or less, with us for thousands of years. While it may be true that there are harmful components of those foods, we know that eating them is at least not making us worse off than we were. When introducing some new chemical, we really have no idea what its effects might be. And we have no, in principle, reason to assume those effects are benign. We've had a very very long time to adjust to the organic components of most foods.
If you ask someone “Which do you think is safer: artificial vanilla or vanilla extract?” they’ll often prefer the “natural” one. But vanilla extract contains exactly the same chemical (vanillin) in addition to hundreds of other compounds, many of which are known to be irritants, hepatotoxins, and carcinogens—in high enough doses.
Of course, it’s much harder to break people of the misconception that the provenance of a chemical (synthetic or natural) matters. There seems to be some kind of innate protective disgust reaction at work. For instance, I’ve had conversations with people who say they wouldn’t be able to bring themselves to drink a glass of water if they knew it was purified from sewage. By the same token, they will drink some water that’s been imbued with some healing power by a homeopath.
Vanilla is definitely a trick question that exploits a blindspot - tell people about the difference and then ask the question, that's the interesting discussion.
Also, to be fair to that homeopath... their axioms are flawed but disgust at purified sewage is self-consistent with their beliefs ("less is more" and all that). I'd probably refuse too, but on the basis of numerous studies showing sewage treatment doesn't adequately remove pharmaceutical waste.
And there are definitely a lot of good examples to choose from—I’ve tended to go with vanilla because a lot of people are familiar with the fact that it comes in synthetic & extract forms, but aren’t clear on the difference, and may just as well prefer the synthetic because it’s cheaper or the extract because it tastes better to them.
If one uses contrived arguments like the one about vanilla extract, then I can see why.
What I was getting at is that in my experience, people are generally pretty open to rational discussion about that, but not about the underlying visceral squeamishness and distrust.
This feels like an accidental trick question :-)
For me personally, I know I'll prefer vanilla extract (or rather, actual vanilla shoots) simply because it tastes much better -- precisely because of the impurities.
I know it isn't what you asked at all, but since the question is meant to uncover emotions: I'm having a hard time taking my emotional preference for natural vanilla aroma out of my reply.
It would be better to use an example where people don't have a strong preference for one of the choices for unrelated reasons. Unfortunately I can't think of an example right now.
Now of course this is just an indicator and not a rule, but it's a pretty good indicator if you've got nothing else to go on. If you told me that humans have been ingesting some particular chemical as food for millions of years, I'm going to feel fairly safe, whereas if you told me that some artificial chemical just passed FDA trials, I'm going to be much more skeptical. Many substances that have appeared even in full FDA drug trials to be benign had very negative consequences.
BPA is a perfect example. It has a very strong affinity for estrogen receptors. If BPA had been in the environment for millions of years, the estrogen receptor would have changed shape to not bind to BPA, but BPA is a new substance, so evolution hasn't had time to adapt to an environment with BPA in it.
Now, we get to how to rationally deal with all of this. We get a lot of benefit from artificial substances, but they can also cause harm. We have to have reasonable cost/benefit calculations. The FDA at least has something like a reasonable framework, where you go from phase I to II to III, and then postclinical surveillance, each step having a greater potential risk with more people under less supervision, and a greater potential reward, after we have data for a smaller group.
This sort of thing doesn't exist with industrial chemicals that aren't specifically designed to be ingested, and that's reasonable. If every industrial chemical had to go through FDA approval, we wouldn't have a modern world. However, even chemicals that aren't designed to be ingested do get ingested. For things like endocrine disruptors, even tiny quantities can have significant biological effects, and it's easy to ingest microgram quantities of any chemical we make millions of tons of per year. There should be a lot more scrutiny on chemicals that have endocrine effects, there should be a lot more scrutiny on chemicals that have contact with food or children are likely to put in their mouths, and there should be more scrutiny on chemicals that are produced in very large quantities. Chemicals like BPA and Phthalates hit all three.
The problem is that most of the people publicly involved in the debate are either the crazy hippie type that thinks everything should be banned, or the American Chemistry Council that thinks nothing should be restricted in any way. There is a large silent majority that wants reasonable regulation so that their boys don't have deformed penises.
That is, it’s not about being right or wrong, but making people think more deeply about a topic that I care about.
Something I used to do that did make people defensive & dismissive was to try to be technically correct, shit like “everything is chemicals”—which is true, but that’s not the meaning of “chemicals” under discussion, so it’s just smug and pedantic.
Unless you can pinpoint all the causal factors of a relationship, there is no other option I have heard of other than the scientific process, i.e. testing, calculating, re-testing, calculating, retesting...etc that could provide us with knowledge about the relationship between cause and effect. And obviously, it will be wrong sometimes, hence the need to re-test, but there is no better option.
If anything, we need more actual scientific process, meaning using our newfound computing capabilities to open up data so that all experiments can be vetted for accuracy and differing populations tested, etc.
That's why data should be free, in order to let this testing happen. Of course we have limited resources to do testing, so there must be some triage involved somehow, but that has nothing to do with the scientific process.
This is after the FDA blocked approval of thalidomide, pointing to insufficient testing:
In refusing to approve thalidomide earlier, many thousands of patients died horribly agonizing deaths. Thalidomide was actually tested quite intensively however the company that did it "lost" the records that showed harm to pregnant women.
The whole story is far more complicated, and involves chiral mixtures, pregnancy tests, and a lot more subtleties that belie the simple narrative.
Our diet of fruits and vegetables has been refined through thousands of years of trial and error, and the result is that we eat a tiny fraction of available plants. It's arrogant to dismiss that history.
the compounds that've been in strawberries for thousands of years are somewhat known items and lower risk than ones invented yesterday or even 20 years ago in a Dupont/Monsanto laboratory. The issue is that we have a business and political system that is highly incentivized to start adding contrived and novel substances to the environment at a massive scale and speed never before seen in nature. In recent times it's all to easy to introduce excess carcinogens and endocrine-disruptors into most homes or kill off large number worlds of honeybees. The effects merit careful consideration and regulation.
ah yes, the logic that brought us Silent Spring and the children happily playing and breathing in clouds of "safe" DDT gas.
if it's from a plant or animal, it can still be plenty harmful, but at least there's a history of use without major effects. not the case with industrial chemicals...
As I get older, more grumpy: The single most disappointing, surprising thing to me has been the persistent, tenacious, aggressive, recurring amnesia, credulity, and willful ignorance.
Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me 1,000 more times, yes please, sir, may I have another. (h/t frat hazing scene in Animal House.)
I really thought people would get smarter over time. From operant conditioning, if nothing else.
Lead in gasoline, cigarettes, BPA, CO2, freon, etc, etc. With every new outrage, the peanut gallery pipes up with the same old dumb ass excuses. And inevitably, the perpetrators KNEW, for DECADES, they were doing harm and actively suppress the knowledge. Merchants of Doubt. Rinse, lather, repeat.
But, no, not this time. You can't just assume the same bad guys with the same incentives would LIE to us. Again.
I'm shocked, shocked you'd suggest anyone would put profits before people.
(It's tedious to post supporting studies on every post, so there's nothing nefarious about claims being initially unsupported.)
I do agree that the "be careful..." comment is perhaps open to being interpreted as snarky, though it's always hard to infer the intent in a forum such as this.
I'm just working to save time by making people who make outrageous claims do the work to produce supporting evidence. I'm really tired of people (especially non-scientists) citing articles they haven't read or aren't qualified to evaluate.
When public health issues are concerned, the burden of proof is on the ones saying exposure does not present any risks worth worrying about. The FDA doesn't usually come in with the approach that we should just try everything out and see how it goes.
If you disagree, have you got any proof that these aren't the causes? Otherwise I guess it's start removing Jane Austen novels from the libraries.
If you come up with some kind of new petrochemical food-item to mimic tofu they’ll want you to get some pre-market approval first. If you’re starting up a new large food business, you’re also going to be subject to inspection to make sure your processes are safe and you’re not adulterating your products, intentionally or unintentionally, with stuff that might not be safe.
GP asserted that some scary chemicals cause problems (no sarcasm intended; I find phthalates and bisphenols a bit scary myself), but provided no supporting evidence. dehkn asked for evidence. Pretty simple right?
they do this all the time in the pharma space.
just arrange experiments on mice where they're subjected to higher and higher levels of whatever chemical until they're subjected to a level several orders of magnitude beyond any realistic hypothetical human exposure. then you cut up all the mice and see if they're different from unexposed mice.
As someone who's been here for over a decade (and had this account nearly that long), I can assure you this is normal behavior for the forum.
I didn't say anything about my wishes. I just welcomed a new(ish) user.
If you can reproduce the experiment, so that approximately the same data comes out, but the paper turns out false, that can only be because the paper makes a flawed interpretation of the data.
But that has nothing to do with reproducibility; you can tell that a flawed conclusion is made from some data without reproducing the process which produces the data.
If the analysis is correct and the empirical results can be reproduced, then the research is true. Or something like that.
I know what you mean but that's not the same as what you are saying.
You mean consistently and reliably over a large number of studies.
Just picking articles at random, I don't have time for a full literature review for Hacker News, but the evidence taken in totality is overwhelming:
1. BPA (and related chemicals) activate estrogen receptors, causal study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28407500 This has been repeatedly demonstrated.
2. Direct human effects, correlational study: Working in a factory with BPA makes you impotent: http://www.oxfordjournals.org/news/dep381.pdf
3. Direct human effects, correlational study:
BPA exposure by parents, especially mothers leads to reduced anogenital distance in children: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21987463
4. Direct human effects, correlational: BPA and other EDCs are associated with penile defects: http://www.acmt.net/_Library/PEHSU_Webinars/Is_Hypospadias_A...
5. Human ingestion routes, correlational: Blood BPA levels are highest occupationally among cashiers (thermal receipts), and people who eat a lot of canned vegetables (plastic can liners): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21205581
There are loads more where that came from. You've got a very direct mechanism of action, clear effects in animal models, and correlational studies showing people who are exposed to larger quantities show clear medical problems. You have clear, understandable routes of ingestion, and correlational data that shows that people who are exposed more to those routes of ingestion have more in their blood. I suppose you can complain that the human studies are correlational, but you can't legally perform a blinded study on this, because we know that BPA is harmful, and you won't get it past an IRB. Maybe you formed your opinion on this in the nineties or 2000s when only the hippies were trading out their nalgene bottles, but the science has come a long way, and the hippies were right. Phthalates are a very similar story.
We assume that the water in our taps is safe to drink but there are often a myriad of tests that our utility companies are failing.
For example, I live in a relatively well to do suburb and my utility is over the recommended limit on 2 carcinogens, and chlorate which damages the thyroid. In addition they have been over the legal limit for Trihalomethanes, another carcinogen since 2014
Drugs can very difficult to remove, and water treatment facilities are only able to remove roughly half [https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/only-half-of-drug...].
In fact, one of the pills is made of urine: "The estrogen-replacement drug Premarin, prescribed to menopausal women, is made from horse urine; in fact, the drug's name is short for PREgnant MARes' urINe".
Since that the majority of female in the West are on birth control pills that means that a lot of the urine in our water systems is in fact "pregnant urine".
1: "In the United States 98% of women have used birth control at some point in time and 62% of those of reproductive age are currently using birth control." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevalence_of_birth_control
About 16% of childbearing aged women in the US use the pill . Even if you add all methods that can be hormonal (some IUDs are, not aren't), it's only 27.8%. Almost 40% of childbearing aged women in the US use no birth control at all.
For this discussion it doesn't matter that much. The quantities in the water supply that aren't being removed are a problem. In other contexts it might not be useful to think that nearly every woman who isn't a child or elderly is on the pill.
What's the best approach to replacing drinking water to avoid all of this?
I have recently switched to getting 5 gallon water jugs delivered. Costs me about $60 per month. Not an optimal solution but I have no other real cure.
My understanding – and it's a shallow understanding – was that bottled water was less regulated and monitored than tap water. Is there a source you can use to get the testing done on the bottled water you're having delivered?
Draw whatever conclusion from that that you like.
Draw whatever conclusion from that you like.
Have you heard Alex Jones? He is telling his listeners that the government puts chemicals in the water that are turning the Frogs gay. It is funny, but ultimately might make them more receptive to real environmental cleanup legislation.
There was also a story going around some years ago about the same thing happening to a species of fish, but I don't recall the details.
The point is that some of the chemicals we use have an effect on biology and we need to pay more attention to what is going on. Alex Jones might be hyperbolic, but he's touching on an important topic that many supposedly more kosher news outlets barely discuss.
This is a typical anti-vaxxer style of argument. It even mentions trump (sic). Which on top of that irrelevance, seriously this is the level of maturity we are at, not capitalising his name?
There 'might' be some interesting science here but point blank this comment is wrong. Like all good scaremongering there are some things worth investigating but this is leaps and bounds beyond current reality.
Palm Oil and Triclosan are everywhere.
Would like to hear your thoughts.
You stick some sample of air/ or a product into a vial, stick that vial into a drone, and that drone flies it to a fully automated labratory, providing with time wise close to consumption information on what your produce contains.
Not that toxic load isn't an interesting subject. But you "Trump's fault" comment is juvenile. A lot of the status quo in DC is why we have all these problems--government not working for the people. I stand with anyone who wants to reform that bad system where a corporation can spend a bunch of money lobbying so that the government turns a blind eye to their pollution or "socializes" that cost while privatizing their profits.
We don't need regulation. We need consumer education (and in this gov funded programs can help) and entrepreneurship to provide the market with what it demands.
Regulation is about controlling what other people buy, which I find to be absolutely unjustifiable. If you don't want unsafe food, you should deliberately avoid it. The problem is no government or private company provides any kind of certification on this.
Also we need to take in account that you cant only take in account the consumer point of view. Other aspect like geopolitics or pollution or security need to be addressed: Japan still try to support agriculture because they don't want to have starvation in case of a maritime blockade. We still have states secure maritime transport and fight piracy.
The difficulty, is to see what need to be regulated and what can be let to the market force. And there is no definitive answer because the market react to regulation and regulation are adapted according to market behavior. But ideology and culture background are determinant to define what proportion you want. It is clearly the opposition between collectivism and individualism. I think both to the extreme are wrong.
>We have already plenty of certification companies that take your money in exchange for a nice logo/label on the packaging. You still need an expert to tells if they do it right.
I think you're underestimating how reputation and communication lead to consumers gaining reliable information in the marketplace. Apple didn't develop a reputation for quality and customer service for nothing. It earned that reputation, and the marker rewarded it for it. Consumer knowledge is often times far more sophisticated than voter knowledge. If consumers are too ignorant to solve this problem, then I have no faith voters will solve it. This comes down to a problem of ignorance, and once that problem is solved, then marketplace solutions can be introduced, whether through cookie-cutter mandates imposed by government that reduce our freedom, or through a diverse array of products/services provided by entrepreneurs that expand our options.
This idea that since you need an expert, it must be done through regulations imposed on everyone, is nonsensical. Experts can work for nongovernmental organizations too, and can have a contractual obligation to serve the public interest, just as government officials do. Moreover, the government can appoint experts to the task, and provide its own certification of what products meet its standards, without making said standards mandatory.
Frankly I find this insistence that only a government appointed body, that imposes standards that no one in society is allowed to opt out of (even if they like BPA in their food), would work, because of an almost religious like faith that market mechanisms, meaning people interacting through voluntary exchanges and contracts, can't work, to be immature.
Assuming no pollution-related concerns affecting non-participants, there is absolutely no moral justification for prohibiting people from buying/selling food containing some hormone disrupting chemical. What society needs is the information with which to make informed decisions. But that decision should be each individual's to make.
I don't believe that government are perfect and the only solution but I think they can be part of it. You have classes of problem where regulation is an answer, one of them is when the condition of a fair market are not met: Monopoly, information asymmetry (You don't have the same resource as GS to understand the market condition ). So some regulation are in place to allow a market to work for all.
The state is there to define the boundaries of acceptable behavior because he is the only one that is allowed to use violence to enforce rules. I think we need to have a minimal level of regulation because we need some liberty to have innovation. This minimum is difficult to agree on and I suspect the level of regulation i would accept is higher than yours but I think you accept certain level. Most people would reject slavery, experimentation on human, kidnapping, extortion ... as normal behavior. But they were accepted at some point.
I fear regulations for that reason. If political marketers convince voters to elect some puppet for special interests, who imposes regulations mandating I use some inferior product, by prohibiting all other options, I have no way to opt out.
I trust the ability of people to see through marketing lies when it's in the context of an organic market with multiple options, mediated my consumer interest, more than when it's relating to politics and proposed regulations to mandate one solution for the entirety of society.
There is a lot of propaganda out there to make people fear the market, and to believe that its advocates are the bad guys (unsuspecting dupes for corporate interests), and I believe that this is by design, and the originators of these memes are in fact projecting. They represent a powerful elite who stand to extract economic rent when the state eliminates choice from market in the name of consumer protection, and they have created an elaborate ideology to convince the population to support their policies. Don't fall for it.
>Monopoly, information asymmetry (You don't have the same resource as GS to understand the market condition ).
The government can address monopolies without prohibiting consumer choice. It can simply fund a public option. For example, it can provide publicly owned roads, so that people aren't stuck with a private road network. It doesn't need to prohibit private roads.
As for information asymmetry, this is effectively dealt with in the market. See my microprocessor example I brought up earlier.
>Most people would reject slavery, experimentation on human, kidnapping, extortion ... as normal behavior.
These are all qualitatively different than buying food with hormone disrupting chemicals. In fact, the law you're advocating is more like these things, as it reduces personal autonomy by restricting the right to engage in voluntary interactions. It is clear when a legal remedy is appropriate, and when it is not. This can be deciphered by considering the nature of the law:
I think I fear also the harm that powerful people or corporation do right now and I think someone need to take action. What is difficult is to have the right balance between liberty and regulation.
We see a division between continental Europe and Anglo-saxon country; In Europe we have more regulation and I think less economical growth and less innovation and the US where it seems you have less regulation but often more meant to create rent and crazy companies behavior but you have growth and more innovation.
Thanks for your comments, it s nice to have a good conversation :)
If companies are allowed to bury the lede enough, customer choice can become ineffective at influencing the market, because it may not be exercised widely simply due to sheer pain-in-the-ass factor.
This suggests its more environmental, chemical, diet-based, etc.
My 12" ultra-portable sits on my desk at home/office. When commuting if I'm using it, it will sit on my backpack on my lap.
My 17" laptop that is heavier than my desktop, stays on the kitchen table.
 The dirt: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12419695
>In contrast, no significant decline was seen in South America, Asia and Africa.
Presumably on average these regions are also seeing similar temperature increases. I'd think that whatever the cause is, it's not something that is affecting people on a global scale.
Also, temperature-dependent sex determination is only seen in a few species, and not in mammals as far as I know: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperature-dependent_sex_dete...
 (PDF) http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/243294/D...
Electromagnetic wave pollution perhaps?
Why do you say that? Most western countries use plastic and receipts (thermal paper), which are the main sources.
And BPA isn't the only xenoestrogen. PCBs, dioxins, and many agricultural biocides are too.
In addition, the analysis appears to deal with the mid 1970s onward, whereas Bisphenol A has been used commercially to cure resins and plastics since 1957, with a quick uptake in usage. We would have to look at the trend further back to have a lede on that, because the recent clinical data are not sufficient to support the claim that normal Bisphenol A exposure (and this is assuming it increased dramatically over this period) can be linked directly with a fifty to sixty per cent reduction in sperm count and/or quality.
There are studies linking overweight and obesity to reduced sperm count, and overweight/obesity rates have increased dramatically and steadily over the measured period of time. Unfortunately, this meta analysis did not appear to address these factors.
All of that said, Bisphenol A is very risky stuff, we should be very careful with the amount of it in the environment and our bodies.
There is a large difference between merely touching a product that has BPA in it and consuming BPA. Plasticizers in general are fat soluble and dissolve from a container into food quickly when heated. Which is why you shouldn't reheat anything, especially fatty foods, in plastic containers.
In the West we re-heat everything in plastic containers. I didn't think this was as big of a thing in non-western countries.
I live in the West and I do not have a recent memory of anyone reheating anything in a plastic container or treated can. I think I saw somebody heat up one of those Kraft Dinner individual portion cups once. How many plastic containers are even considered microwave safe?. I know there are things like TV dinners.
I would think the more likely vector would be drink cans, and maybe laminated food cans after that. I see receipt paper mentioned a lot, but it's hard to tell if they mention that just for show, or because it's actually an important form of exposure. And as you mentioned, plasticizers are fat soluble; most canned beverages (aside coconut water) are not fatty, and most canned food isn't fatty either (because they don't want the fats to go rancid from the oxygen in the headspace), so I'm not sure how much leeching actually goes on with those vectors.
Also: many people use "microwaveable" plastic containers/Tupperware in lieu of ceramic or glass, as it's cheaper and easier to store.
That sounds a but vague. Can you please post some links where I can read about this?
I wouldn't put too much importance on the synthetic / natural distinction.
Lead, tobacco, and various radioactive elements (uranium, radium, thorium, and radon) are all perfectly natural. If you were harmed by chemicals in the last century, it was probably one of them.
There are also thousands of lab-made chemicals that never make the news because they're just not harmful.
The UK-based non-profit Sense About Science has produced some literature trying to combat what they call "chemophobia," the fear of man-made chemicals:
Scientific American has tried to debunk myths about synthetic chemicals as well:
I mean, yeah, don't drink DDT. But don't try to make your drinking water "more natural" either, thank your city for treating it with a little bit of synthetic (and toxic in large doses) chlorine, and enjoy a day free of all-natural additives like cholera.
I try to read food labels, and it's exhausting trying to keep up with all the new chemicals they put in food (or in furniture, or plastics, or whatever) so rough heuristics become useful and help avoid spending six hours at the grocery store.
A better heuristic might be:
Humans worry too much.
Don't invent heuristics that scientists working in the relevant field think are unnecessary.
Toxicology is full of smart people learning things on our behalf. They have models and simulations and labs to scrutinize new chemicals for us, or even just to avoid massive class action lawsuits.
Among their findings is the fact that we can't seem to make anything nearly as toxic as nature can. Even when we try we come up short by a factor of like a freaking million:
If you want simple guidelines to save time with groceries: avoid lunchmeats to reduce your risk of (natural) listeria, cook your chicken to avoid (natural) salmonella, don't can your own food to avoid (natural) botulism, and call it a day.
Or maybe don't worry about toxins at all, because they kill statistically almost no one, and instead: work out, eat some leafy greens, avoid obesity, smoking, drinking, guns, and unnecessary car trips.
At that point you're so far in the lead that if you die from a random chemical, just shake your fist at the gods and die knowing you did far more than most people. If you do die from a chemical, you didn't die from not being smart, you died from not being lucky, and could have easily been crushed by a meteor.
Sadly, the BPA levels in her blood did not drop significantly. It seems that even if YOU don't come into contact with these chemicals, chances are your food already has.
It informed me that if I really wanted to avoid plasticizers, I could never eat out, and would likely need to purchase my food from organic farmer's markets. A tough bill to swallow.
You have no idea what kind of harm this could do, BPA being the least of the worries in that case.
More info here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27076112
Also here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26949865
And here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26206279
Here too: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24982785
More fuel for the fire: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24927498
Kinda meh on cancer though not quite no effect.
Experiments abound on pubmed and so on, such as http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2305050015...
This would be easy to check by comparing rural and metropolitan areas with control for other pollution...
"Numerous epidemiologic studies and comprehensive reviews of the scientific literature have evaluated possible associations between exposure to non-ionizing EMFs and risk of cancer in children (12–14). (Magnetic fields are the component of non-ionizing EMFs that are usually studied in relation to their possible health effects.) Most of the research has focused on leukemia and brain tumors, the two most common cancers in children. Studies have examined associations of these cancers with living near power lines, with magnetic fields in the home, and with exposure of parents to high levels of magnetic fields in the workplace. No consistent evidence for an association between any source of non-ionizing EMF and cancer has been found.
Exposure from power lines. Although a study in 1979 pointed to a possible association between living near electric power lines and childhood leukemia (15), more recent studies have had mixed findings (16–24). Most of these studies did not find an association or found one only for those children who lived in homes with very high levels of magnetic fields, which are present in few residences."
You said no effect. I picked the most well researched way to counter that.
High field might be cancer risk (by the way comparing to general population could produce a wash if the background level increased), much less for sperm counts.
What's up next? Which "high field" shall it be?
A more interesting potential cause of the sperm drop would be the human environment changing in a beneficial way. That is, it might be that sperm production is negatively correlated with other competitive traits. If that were the case, then we would expect the availability of modern medicine to drive a reduction in sperm count, as competitive-but-previously-infertile individuals are now better able to reproduce. After all humans are a K-selected species.
Of course this is silly, because not enough time has passed for these effects to emerge in the human population. However, we do see these effects in livestock. Thoroughbred horses released into the wild would quickly die off, since female fertility has dropped precipitously in a breeding context of "if the mare runs fast enough, we'll spare no expense getting her pregnant".
We are used to way better standard now and I assume that leads to differences being measured differently, like what brand of clothes you have. I am no expert in the building blocks of larger societies, but it sure feels like the feminine side of things (looks, feelings) is the much more differe ting fact instead of how many logs you brought home from the forest. ( comparing very small cities and larger ones )
All the concrete manhood measuring seems to be more and more meta. If we don't have that to measure if we indeed are men, then what are we?
Maybe men as a protector has seen it's purpose through and is automatically being rid of, subdued to an example of what happens when success rate was too good.
What we need now is engineers to build the machines and not masculine prepped men.
Not modernity. Modern western society may be hazardous to men. For all the talk about male privilege, the society seems to be geared towards keeping men down and lifting up women.
Of course the male elites seem to be doing well, but generation by generation, the non-elite males have had their status/wealth/income/etc drop relatively speaking.
> Despite the narratives being thrown at you, we live in an incredibly "feminized" society where social stigma/violence/shaming are more powerful for the average person than plain old physical violence.
Absolutely agree with you on this. Instead of men physically beating women, now the violence is social/societal/governmental/etc. Where laws are created to favor women over men. Where women attack men by calling men "sexist/bigoted/aggressive/etc".
There probably is an environment component to this issue. But there is probably a social/societal component to this as well. Being attacked by society since birth probably negatively affects the male population in the west.
Certainly, the concerted effort by the elite to effeminize the western male for the past many decades has to have contributed.
Most of us are probably eating healthier than 40 years ago (Heart disease is way down), so not sure it's diet. Unless of course its all the chemicals and contaminants that we're getting with our food...
I used to believe we eat shit, but my ancestors were really poor and basically ate just a few food types most of their life. I think I've come a long way and am convinced that, even if I were to eat a very occasional McDonalds, it'd still be eating a lot better. It's a lot more diverse and that really makes a difference. Don't know about you but I very rarely eat the same thing two days in a row.
This is why I think that jumping on the "BPA must be the problem!" answer to low count question is a bit ridiculous, especially when people are becoming more unhealthy by the day. People who eat more processed sugary foods and drinks that come in BPA containing packaging are also more likely to be obese and unhealthy too.
Lacking physical work also does not account for all of the weight gain we are seeing at the moment - obesity rates remained stable in the '60s and '70s when we lived similarly lazy lives. (1)
I don't see how food being diverse makes it healthier though. You diversify against risk, is there risk here?
Protein bars, granola, multigrain, fruit juice, don't have high fructose corn syrup, just have a bunch of sugar instead, it's more natural!, etc and having sugar and wheat and soy and other crap put into almost everything you buy at a supermarket has contributed to this mess.
My general rule of thumb is if you're not having at least 3-4 solid servings of vegetables (not fruits, just veggies), every day, excluding corn (corn should be stripped of its vegetable status), you're probably not eating anywhere near as healthy as you should be. Fruits don't need to be avoided, but you shouldn't think you're eating healthy if you're eating 5+ servings of them every day, since they do have sugar in them (offset a bit by the dietary fiber, but still sugar).
I've deleted it
It's probably preferable to have some negative feedback in the human population explosion, without having to resort to wars.
On the contrary, if the _only_ thing you could leave behind were children maybe that's not the best branch to grow on.
Those only test for the quantity, not for the motility, morphology, antibodies, white blood cell count, etc.
Please reevaluate your respect for others, if you view childrearing from your own loins as the only means of being a valuable human being.
Don't get me wrong people who don't want kids shouldn't have kids because they'll resent their kids and likely be poorer parents for it. But claiming they're somehow doing the world a service by "not bringing more consumers into the world" or "reducing their carbon footprint" is just pure rationalization. Kids are not intrinsically a net negative for the environment or society.
If you read up on the importance of healthy testosterone levels in both males and females you'll see why we should all be very worried about disrupting that endocrine balance.
Besides, why are you so keen on rendering the people who were not born before the age of current tech as a class unfit in our current context?
It would be interesting to compare testosterone levels of inmates versus men of the "outside" population. Inmates live in a much more aggressive environment, and I bet that influence their testosterone level.
It's clear that people will continue to live longer and that birth rates will continue to fall, either by necessity (overpopulation) or due to factors like this. I hold the view that far too many people unnecessarily have children due to societal norms, family pressure, a bizarre and slightly narcissistic desire to have their genes passed down to future generations (adoption is incredibly important.) Obviously I'm not saying having children is wrong, just far too many people see it as a necessary part of their life when it really shouldn't be. Having children is an inherently selfish decision and unless you're prepared to sacrifice a huge amount of freedom to afford your children the best upbringing, then maybe having children isn't for you.
Maybe I have too much faith in modern medicine (I doubt it, modern medicine is incredible) but I fully believe a trend of dropping sperm count is not apocalyptic. It'll probably result in benefits such as fewer undesired pregnancies. The important thing is to ensure that people of any economic status have access to fertility clinics, and for IVF and related procedures to not be cost prohibitive for non-wealthy people.