A recent essay in the print edition of New Scientist magazine called "Hard times for polar bears as pollution linked to penis bone" caught my eye (the online version is titled "Polar bear penis bone may be weakened by pollution") because it showed once again the insidious and wide-ranging deleterious effects we are having on these magnificent animals as well as many others. It turns out that "high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were associated with bears having a less dense baculum (penis bone), which may prevent successful mating."
A research team lead by Dr. Christian Sonne, who works at Aarhus University in Denmark, reported their findings in a paper called "Penile density and globally used chemicals in Canadian and Greenland polar bears" in the journal Environmental Research. They conclude in the abstract to this essay, "While reductions in BMD (bone mineral density) is in general unhealthy, reductions in penile BMD could lead to increased risk of species extinction because of mating and subsequent fertilization failure as a result of weak penile bones and risk of fractures. Based on this, future studies should assess how polar bear subpopulations respond upon EDC exposure since information and understanding about their circumpolar reproductive health is vital for future conservation."