It’s hard to believe that air pollution can lead to lower female fertility and more miscarriages, but scientists are now convinced this is the case. The number of couples having trouble conceiving and taking fertility drugs or using in-vitro fertilization in order to have a baby has skyrocketed at the same time that the air has gotten dirtier.

What is our government doing about this? Under Bush, air cleanup programs have been rolled back and people who are anti-environment have been put in charge of the few that remain. The Clear Skies Initiative doesn’t clean up the air, it just moves the pollution around, by the exchange of “points” that allow power plants and factories to continue to pollute our skies.

Maxine Firth reports in the Independent that we will soon have problem that China does, but in reverse. China has a higher number of boys than girls, due to its one child policy limit, which leads to infanticide of female babies. The high rate of air pollution in the US leads to estrogenic pollution which may reduce the number of boys born. In the future, we will doubtless see many more mixed race couples with Asian men and Western women, especially as we increase our dependence on China as a trading partner. But in the meantime, estrogen pollution can also lead to the tragedy of miscarriage.

Researchers in Brazil studied the proportion of male to female births in Sao Paulo, which is one of the world’s most polluted cities, and found that almost 52% of the infants born were boys. This ratio should be closer to 51% boys and 49% girls. In a normal environment, slightly more boys are born than girls because boy babies are more fragile. The researchers also found that pregnant mice exposed to the air pollution were more likely to have a miscarriage. There is also evidence that exposure to high levels of estrogen can trigger breast cancer, which seems to be increasing every year in the US.

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