Penises are shrinking, and more boys are being born with genital defects, two Melbourne scientists claim.
They think chemicals in plastics are to blame.
Their controversial stance is based on studies of animals exposed to the chemicals, as well as human data they say shows rates of hypospadia – a penis birth defect causing a range of functionality problems – have doubled in Australia.
“Exposure to these chemicals, this is the No.1 reproductive issue for men,” says Associate Professor Andrew Pask, who leads a lab at Melbourne University researching male reproduction.
However, government regulators say the best-available science shows these chemicals are not having an effect on humans. Other experts say a link is possible but that the evidence is a long way from settled.
Some plastics can release chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors, that can mimic human sex hormones. In animal studies, exposure when pregnant can have profound effects on an animal’s offspring, including infertility, undescended testes and hypospadia.
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