Via the South China Morning Post: China boosts research as smog crisis raises fears over infertility. Excerpt:
As China's environmental woes grow, typified by recent toxic smog, Beijing has been increasing funding for research into how pollution affects fertility.
The number of studies funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the leading research institute, has tripled in the last five years.
It has supported 68 such research projects this year, compared to just 23 in 2008.
Dr Liu Liangpo, a researcher with the Institute of Urban Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said this showed the government's "deep concern" about the growing crisis.
He said infertility was a global issue, but the situation in China was "particularly grim" due to the severe pollution. And he warned: "Polluted water, unsafe food, bad air ... so many things are threatening the reproductive capacity of Chinese people.
"If the situation gets worse, China's birth-control policy would become redundant."
The infertility rate among all Chinese of childbearing age rose to 12.5 per cent in 2010 from just 3 per cent two decades earlier, Xinhua reported recently.
More than 40 million people on the mainland have been diagnosed as infertile.
While some experts believe unhealthy lifestyles are to blame for 70 per cent of infertility in women and 50 per cent of infertility in men, others say that environmental conditions may also play a role.
The majority of government research grants are for studies about the impact of worsening pollution on the quality of sperm.