Ocean pollution is shrinking mammal testicles

Lest you were convinced that caring about climate change or the environment was somehow emasculating, a new study from the Zoological Society of London should put your fears to rest. Or rather, it should make those afflicted with the worst cases of toxic masculinity finally man up and pay attention to the planet. As the BBC reports:

A study led by scientists at the Institute of Zoology at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) found high levels of PCBs (polychlorinated byphenyls) were linked to smaller testicles in otherwise healthy animals.

They think this could have an impact on sperm count, with obvious implications for reproductive success.

"In porpoises, reduced testes weights have been associated with lower sperm counts so we think that if PCBs are reducing testes weights they may also be reducing sperm counts but we hope to do further research to confirm this," said lead researcher Rosie Williams of ZSL.

PCBs are a common chemical found in everything from plastics to paint to some electrical equipment. If it doesn't kill off marine life, we now know that it will very likely shrink their balls, which could impact the future survival prospects of the entire species. Even now, the preliminary research indicates that pregnancy rates in porpoise populations in PCB-polluted waters are about half of those communities in cleaner environments. More information is still needed, of course. But the central point remains: save the planet, save your testicles.

Ocean pollutants 'have negative effect on male fertility' [Helen Briggs / BBC]

Image: Huangdan2060 / Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0)