The world is experiencing a quiet yet accelerating collapse in male fertility, according to a paper published Tuesday in the journal Human Reproduction Update.

The study found sperm counts fell by more than 51 percent between 1973 and 2018. And while sperm counts have been dropping for decades, the decline rate appears to be speeding up.

The rate of decline since 2000 has been a striking, the study found, with an observed 2.64 percent fall each year in the number of sperm per milliliter of semen — more than twice as large of a decline as that observed since 1978, according to The Guardian.

While reasons for the decline are unclear, one major factor could be endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in thousands of everyday items, coauthor Shanna Swan of the Icahn School of Medicine told the Financial Times.

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