The report, 'Fragile: Our reproductive health and chemical
exposure',collates the findings of a number of peer-reviewed
scientific studiesof recent years. Together, the studies show for
the first time acomprehensive picture of an increase in
reproductive health disorders,mirroring the rising presence in our
lives of man-made chemicals.
Sperm counts have fallen by 50% in 50 years, infertility among
coupleshas more than doubled in industrialised countries since the
1960s,while testicular cancer has become increasingly common. The
male-femalebirth ratio has changed dramatically in some areas and
birth defects ofthe reproductive system are increasingly noted in
"The growing body of scientific evidence indicating links
betweenexposure to man-made chemicals and damage to our
reproductive systemsis extremely disturbing. Greenpeace is calling
for any chemical thatcan potentially harm humans in this way to be
removed from use wherevera safer alternative is available," said Dr
David Santillo of GreenpeaceInternational's Science Unit, one of
the report's authors.
Many of the disorders which have been increasing in incidence
arethought to originate in the developing stages of the child's
life inthe womb or shortly after birth. At the same time, tests
have shownthat exposure to some commonly used chemicals which may
affectfertility takes effect almost from the moment a child is
conceived.Among the chemicals concerned are alkylphenols,
phthalates, brominatedflame retardants, organotin compounds,
bisphenol-A and artificialmusks. However, these chemicals, used as
examples in this report,represent only a fraction of the problem.
Most chemicals on the markethave never been tested for their safety
for human health or theenvironment, yet many are routinely used in
products found onsupermarket shelves and in our bathroom
An EU law (REACH ) currently being discussed is supposed to
allowfor much stricter checks and controls on the manufacture and
use ofchemicals. But an aggressive lobby from certain chemicals
producers hasbeen so successful in undermining REACH that the law
could ultimatelyallow substances suspected of harming our hormone
system and sexualorgans to remain in use. 
Greenpeace International Toxics Campaigner, Helen Perivier,
said: "Manyindividuals and couples see their lives and welfare
affected byreproductive disorders. The EU cannot close its eyes to
this risingproblem by weakening the protection that REACH could
provide againstchemical-induced health problems."
Greenpeace argues that there can be no justification for
allowing thecontinued use of hazardous chemicals that can be passed
to developingchildren and that may harm sexual development.
Governments and Members of the European Parliament will vote on
the EU chemicals regulation later this year.
Other contacts: Helen Perivier, Greenpeace International Toxics Campaigner, tel +32 (0)496 127107 (EN, FR)Nadia Haiama, Greenpeace EU policy director on chemicals, tel +32 (0)476 961376 (PT, FR, EN, ES)Katharine Mill, Greenpeace International Communications, tel +32 (0)496 156229 (EN, FR)To arrange an interview with David Santillo, Greenpeace Science Unit, contact Katharine Mill
Notes: 1. The report Fragile is available at http://www.greenpeace.org/fragile2. REACH: Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals3. Fatal Flaws, http://www.greenpeace.org/fatalflawsbrief