Daily News Archive
Bald Eagles Soar Due to DDT Ban
(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2003) A recent Associated Press article documents the increasing number of bald eagles thriving in Michigan due to cleaner lakes and streams. According to informal surveys of the eagles, sightings in Michigan found 405 nesting pairs last year, up from 53 pairs in 1961 and 83 pairs in 1980. Officials said the DDT and PCBs bans have meant bald eagles can be found almost anywhere in Michigan.
Sam Washington, executive director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan's largest outdoors and conservation organization, believes the primary reason for the growth in bald eagle populations is they "don't have DDT and PCBs in the environment." Washington added that these contaminants "interrupt their [the eagles'] reproduction [cycles]." Scientists linked the toxic pesticide DDT to the thinning of eggshells in certain fishing/predator birds, which prevented the births of many eagle chicks.
On August 7, 2003, an opinion published in the New York Times, by Henry I. Miller, a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, and former U.S. Food and Drug Administration official, voiced strong support for the re-evaluation and eventual reinstatement of DDT as a public health use pesticide.
A June 18, 2002, Beyond Pesticides Daily News article stated that birds are still being killed by the pesticide DDT from direct, illegal exposure, and from the accumulation of the toxic chemical in the birds' food sources.
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