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DDT Found in Tissue of Antarctic Penguins

The Pesticide DDT was used during WWII to stop mosquitoes from spreading diseases such as malaria. It was also used as an insecticide for agriculture.

ddt

But the government took environmental initiatives and banned the use of it in the 1970′s because it was found to cause cancer in humans and decreased the eggshell reproductive quality in birds such as the bald eagle.

And in a recent article by BBC News it was found that DDT was responsible for premature puberty in girls from developing countries.

So if it was banned over 40 years ago, why is it still showing up in the tissue of Antarctic penguins?

penguin

Frozen Findings

According to Heidi Geisz and other researchers from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the levels of DDT found in the tissue of these penguins have remained the same since the early 1970s. And even though the levels are not enough to kill the penguins, it could be enough to decrease the quality of their eggs.

The levels of DDT have remained the same for so long because the pesticide is a part of the life cycle of Antarctica.

The DDT is evaporated into the air, it becomes trapped in glaciers and it is absorbed into tiny krill. As the temperature warms and melts the glaciers, the penguins eat the krill and then have the pesticide in their system.

You can read the entire article here.

That means the penguins have to worry about global warming and DDT, both of which are destroying their natural habitats.

Even though it looks like this trend is unavoidable, we hope that Geisz and the other researchers continue to study what is happening and find some sort of way to halt or stop the process before these creatures are gone forever.

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