A new study in Wales has uncovered a disturbing connection between pollution and shrinking penis size in otters. The report, from the Cardiff University Otter Project and Chemicals Health and Environment Department, found that chemicals present in both the environment and the food chain could be altering the hormones of the water mammal, causing a smaller penis bone. Aside from affecting the future spawn of otters, the scientists also worry that these ever-present chemicals could have serious effects on other mammals.

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The new study has found that the sex organs of male otters are significantly decreasing in weight, and in actual size of the penis bone. In addition, more otters have shown a presence of undescended testicles and cysts within their sexual organs, a side effect of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC).

Spending most of their lives in rivers, otters are more connected to their environment, and to the pollutants that are present in those waters. Their health is directly related to the health of the aquatic systems in a given area. Persistent organic pollutants were banned in the 1970s, which showed a growth in otter population after that time. But although these chemicals are no longer in use, other EDC’s have been introduced in modern times, and their effects on wildlife has yet to be monitored.

The health of otters is not the only concern in this study, but of male sexual health across the species. The presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the water and environment will affect humans as well, and the study questions the link with EDCs and the increasing number of human males with undescended testicles, low sperm count and malformed genitals.

Via Daily Mail

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