With the barest trickle of information seeping beneath the closed-door investigation into the UPL chemical disaster in Durban, South Africa, the public is still in the dark about health impacts and exposure levels from airborne toxic chemical exposure. But studies on people and animals exposed to several of these chemicals point to significant health problems that could potentially extend several generations into the future.

Michael Skinner.

These include the potential for chemicals to induce transgenerational epigenetic health impacts, a relatively new field of research pioneered by Washington State University biology professor, Dr Michael Skinner.

In simple terms, Skinner’s research group has sought to demonstrate that certain chemicals that your great-grandmother was exposed to could cause disease in you and your grandchildren.

A fuller explanation of his research work can be viewed in this 20-minute TEDx talk.

Find out more

Daily Maverick