Exposure to environmental pollutants can cause alterations in brain development that affect sexual development and fertility for several generations, a study has found. Researchers from the University of Liege in Belgium monitored the sexual development of three generations of rats. Pregnant rats were exposed to a mixture of common endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), at doses equivalent to those commonly experienced by people. Their offspring showed impairments in sexual development and maternal behaviour that were passed on through several generations. Also Read – The Puja carnivalThe female rats born in the first and second generation showed impairments in their care for their own pups. However, the female rats in the second and third generation exhibited a delayed onset of puberty and altered reproductive cycle and ovarian follicle development, indicating that their fertility was affected, even though they were never themselves exposed to the EDCs. “Our results raise real concerns about the effects of these pollutants in our environment. We found effects of EDCs in generations of animals that had not been directly exposed to the chemicals,” said Anne-Simone Parent from the University of Liege. Also Read – Wave City brings special offers this NavratraThe findings suggest that current levels of EDCs in our environment may already be causing long-lasting harm and that people and agencies should take measures to minimise exposure. We are exposed to hundreds of these pollutants in our daily lives, as they are used in the manufacture of plastics, pesticides and medicines. However, the extent of damage being done to our health and the consequences to future generations remains unclear.