The exact causes of the increase in reproductive problems are presently unknown. However, in parallel with the increase there has been a rise in the manufacture and use of many chemicals, Greenpeace says in its report.
It has been estimated that every year around 100,000 different types of chemicals are produced and used around the world. The use of chemicals also led to the inevitable contamination of the environment and consequently, also to human exposure. Many chemicals have been found to contaminate human tissues and even the developing fetus in the womb is exposed to a multitude of chemicals which pollute the human body.
Although not proven beyond doubt, there is increasing evidence of possible link between the synonymous rise of the reproductive health problems and the rise of our exposure to many chemicals.
According to the Greenpeace report, the presence of many man-made chemicals at current environment levels may already be negatively impacting the reproductive health of wildlife and humans. The ground for such a hypothesis draw on a number of lines of evidence, including laboratory studies on effects of chemicals in animals, direct measurements of chemical exposure in humans (including presence of chemicals in body tissues) and the finding of correlations between level of exposure to chemicals and incidence of certain disorders.
Laboratory studies have shown beyond any doubt that certain chemicals are capable of causing reproductive disorders in animals. Of particular concern in this regard are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and other pervasive hazardous chemicals which known to be toxic to reproductive health and/or disrupt the hormones (endocrine) system.
While some of these chemicals, especially the internationally-recognized POPs, have been banned or severely restricted, other reproductive toxicants and chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system (endocrine disruptors) remain in use by industry and, in many cases, may still be foud as ingredients or additives in a variety of household products.