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Bald Eagle-DDT Myth Still Flying High

 
 
Reply Thu 6 Jul, 2006 11:03 pm
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,202447,00.html

Bald Eagle-DDT Myth Still Flying High
Thursday, July 06, 2006
By Steven Milloy


Pennsylvania officials just announced success with their program to re-establish the state's bald eagle population. But it's a shame that such welcome news is being tainted by oft-repeated myths about the great bird's near extinction.

In its July 4 article reporting that the number of bald eagle pairs in Pennsylvania had increased from 3 in 1983 to 100 for the first time in over a century, the Associated Press reached into its file of bald eagle folklore and reported, "DDT poisoned the birds, killing some adults and making the eggs of those that survived thin. The thin eggs dramatically reduced the chances of eaglets surviving to adulthood. DDT was banned in 1972. The next year, the Endangered Species Act passed and the bald eagles began their dramatic recovery."

While the AP acknowledged the fact that bald eagle populations "were considered a nuisance and routinely shot by hunters, farmers and fishermen" - spurring a 1940 federal law protecting bald eagles - the AP underplayed the significance of hunting and human encroachment and erroneously blamed DDT for the eagles' near demise.

As early as 1921, the journal Ecology reported that bald eagles were threatened with extinction - 22 years before DDT production even began. According to a report in the National Museum Bulletin, the bald eagle reportedly had vanished from New England by 1937 - 10 years before widespread use of the pesticide.

But by 1960 - 20 years after the Bald Eagle Protection Act and at the peak of DDT use - the Audubon Society reported counting 25 percent more eagles than in its pre-1941 census. U.S. Forest Service studies reported an increase in nesting bald eagle productivity from 51 in 1964 to 107 in 1970, according to the 1970 Annual Report on Bald Eagle Status.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service attributed bald eagle population reductions to a "widespread loss of suitable habitat," but noted that "illegal shooting continues to be the leading cause of direct mortality in both adult and immature bald eagles," according to a 1978 report in the Endangered Species Tech Bulletin.

A 1984 National Wildlife Federation publication listed hunting, power line electrocution, collisions in flight and poisoning from eating ducks containing lead shot as the leading causes of eagle deaths.

In addition to these reports, numerous scientific studies and experiments vindicate DDT.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists fed large doses of DDT to captive bald eagles for 112 days and concluded that "DDT residues encountered by eagles in the environment would not adversely affect eagles or their eggs," according to a 1966 report published in the "Transcripts of 31st North America Wildlife Conference."

The USFWS examined every bald eagle found dead in the U.S. between 1961-1977 (266 birds) and reported no adverse effects caused by DDT or its residues.

One of the most notorious DDT "factoids" is that it thinned bird egg shells. But a 1970 study published in Pesticides Monitoring Journal reported that DDT residues in bird egg shells were not correlated with thinning. Numerous other feeding studies on caged birds indicate that DDT isn't associated with egg shell thinning.

In the few studies claiming to implicate DDT as the cause of thinning, the birds were fed diets that were either low in calcium, included other known egg shell-thinning substances, or that contained levels of DDT far in excess of levels that would be found in the environment - and even then, the massive doses produced much less thinning than what had been found in egg shells in the wild.

So what causes thin bird egg shells? The potential culprits are many. Some that have been reported in the scientific literature include: oil; lead; mercury; stress from noise, fear, excitement or disease; age; bird size (larger birds produce thicker shells); dehydration; temperature; decreased light; human and predator intrusion; restraint and nutrient deficiencies.

Most of this evidence was available to the Environmental Protection Agency administrative judge who presided over the 1971-1972 hearings about whether DDT should be banned. No doubt it's why he ruled that, "The use of DDT under the regulations involved here does not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife."

Yet it's the myths, not the facts that endure. Why? The answer is endless repetition. The environmentalists who wanted DDT banned have constantly repeated the myths over the last 40 years, while most of DDT's defenders lost interest after the miracle chemical was summarily banned in 1972 by EPA administrator William Ruckleshaus.

Why was banning DDT so important to environmentalists?

Charles Wurster, a senior scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund - the activist group that led the charge against DDT - told the Seattle Times (Oct. 5, 1969) that, "If the environmentalists win on DDT, they will achieve a level of authority they have never had before. In a sense, much more is at stake than DDT."

Banning DDT wasn't about birds. It was about power. The sooner the record on DDT is set straight, the sooner the environmentalists' ill-gotten "authority" will be seen for what it is.

Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and CSRWatch.com. He is a junk science expert, an advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
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Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Fri 7 Jul, 2006 05:16 am
Fox News news needs to do more fact finding stories like "Santa Clause is Real And So Are His Elves!" and "The World is Flat", and "GW Bush Has Brain", and "Cher Has Never Had Plastic Surgery" and...

please add your own "fair and balanced" headline for Fox News to cover:
(I assume that's the new game we've started here)
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jul, 2006 05:47 am
When I look for objective reporting of science news, I always turn to FOX news.

Remember their tag line "We report, you decide".

Gunga resurrects this tale every six months or so. Its no more credible today than it was last go round.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jul, 2006 05:53 am
Quote:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists fed large doses of DDT to captive bald eagles for 112 days and concluded that ?DDT residues encountered by eagles in the environment would not adversely affect eagles or their eggs,? according to a 1966 report published in the ?Transcripts of 31st North America Wildlife Conference.?


Was this stupid research or what? Did many of these captive eagles survive? The metabolic pathway wasnt accurately discovered till later.
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jul, 2006 06:01 am
Face it, "farmerman": they had no rational reason to ban DDT, and Rachel Carson is down there right now turning on a spit next to Hitler and Stalin in 2500 degree heat for the 90 million people her bullshit has killed.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jul, 2006 06:27 am
Well "gunga" youre just flat wrong as usual, and weve gone through this before.
Rachel Carsons memory is safe . I dont see any "gungasnake" buildings in state capitals.

When you take some time to learn about acquired resistance and some facts that arent fourty years old or arent "spoon fed" by Rupert Murdoch, then we can talk.
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parados
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jul, 2006 06:48 am
It's from junkscience.com....


You have to expect it to be junk science.
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Heliotrope
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jul, 2006 11:39 am
Guys I wouldn't worry about it.
It's just a copy and paste from some random website.
If he was capable of coming up with anything original and even remotely well thought out we'd have seen it by now.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jul, 2006 06:50 pm
Does he own pesticide stock? What on earth is the agenda here?
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 Jul, 2006 07:59 pm
Milloy again?

pfffffffffft

gunga, you really need to broaden your reading horizons.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jul, 2006 08:22 am
That den of Liberalism, the cog in the wheel of environmental whackiness, the Pennsylvania Game Commission has gone on record to state that, while eagles were being protected in the state since the 1940's, the numbers of resident eagles still plummeted. Obviously there was something else besides shooting. In 1983 we were down to 3 breeding pairs with no successful fledgings for almost 3 years prior.

Hacking of eagles from Alaska and Canada began to sccount for resident numbers rising to 30 pairs by the end of the 80s.
With the depuration of DDT freom the environment and the breakdown of residual DDT and , more importantly, DDE, the population continued to grow.
The article failed to recount that, its very reason for being writ was that in 2006 , Pa has recognized that 100 breeding pairs are living in the state as resident eagles.

If you doubt the chemical relationships of DDE to egg thinning, there are a number of tox papers and wildlife biology studies that were done during the 90's that graphed actual shell thicknesses and recovery eggshell thicknesses.

Of course all these papers are based upon statistical inference using multivariae analyses. Data abounds on metabolic affects of DDE . Rachel Carson chronicled the rapid decline of robins on the U of mich campus , coincidentally exactly 2 years after intensive spraying began for Dutch Elm borers on Elm Trees. The U o Mich found that robins were magnifying the DDT by eating earthworms which became loaded with DDT. A lethal dose to a mature robin was 11 earthworms (thats about a 3 days intake)

AS FAR AS EAGLES GO--Charles Broley's original work on banding eagles in West Coast of Florida(NAT AUDUBON JAN 1960)(FLA NATURALIST, April 1959), and Maurice Broun recording of the decline in immature eagles in the Hawk Mountain sanctuary of Pa, were key pieces of work in documenting the decline of eagles in the late 1940s.
Broley had banded 150 plus pairs of eagles and another large batch of immature eagles in an area around Fort Meyers in the late 1930 and early 1940s. THEY WERE JUST BEGINNING TO BE PROTECTED by Fed laws, However, throught the 1950s both Broley and Broun noted that the rapid decline of eagles in both fort Meyers and along the hawk mountain migration path was topping 80% of the pre protection numbers, all this well after they were being protected.
In other words, when eagles werent protected their numbers were basically unaffected except for +/- values of a stable population. After protection (and during the time DDT was being used for all sorts of crop dusting and arbor pest controls in the woods from Virginia to canada), the eagles were rapidly declining. In 1957, the last year of Broleys work ,(he died in 1958) the number of Florida nests declined to less than 10% of the pre DDT years.

Carson did a summary statement based on reviewing Broleys numbers and noted that , of only 23 nests in 1957, 13 eggs failed to hatch, 9 were broken before hatching and only 7 hatched. After Broleys death the Fla Game Commission continued the work and monitored the continual decline.
Maurice Broun, on the other hand, was able to document the decline of eagles in the Hawk Mountain pass of the eastern flyway (a seasonal passage of raptors in the eastern flyway that has most of them going through this natural geologic feature) Broun was able to document similar results that Broley saw. Thus by the late 1950s Broun was certain that, despite the protected status of eagles, something else was killing eagles big-time because, even as the actual numbers of eagles declined, the ratio of immatures to mature eagles also declined to about 3 % of the total population (In the late 1930s and early 1940's immatures accounted for about 40% of the total number).
So "killing by hunters and farmers" wasnt the cause at all, in fact during the times that people shot egles, the numbers stayed pretty constant. As the 40's through the 70's (until the ban on DDT was enacted) many raptors and buteos and songbirds declined to fractions of their pre DDT numbers.
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jul, 2006 10:53 am
Quote:

"Of course all these papers are based upon statistical inference using multivariae analyses...."


Granted there are situations in which statistical analyses are sufficient information, this is not one of them.

DDT had polio and malaria wiped off the planet in 1960 and 90 million humans have died as a direct consequence of it being banned.

http://junkscience.com/malaria_clock.htm

Particularly given the provable lack of harm to humans, and particularly having a friend heard Heinz Meng himself say that DDT caused no harm to eagles or other raptors, I would want to see some sort of a direct proof thta DDT harmed birds. I do not buy this leftist mantra of ten or twenty birds being worth more than tens of millions of human lives.

Now, the other thing I'd have to mention, is that NOBODY is asking that we go back to the former widespread use of DDT as an area pesticide for crops. All anybody is asking for at present is that it be used to protect human habitats, in emergency situations in which some high value asset needs immediate protection, and on mosquito breeding grounds.

GRANTED when you spray the stuff over huge land areas and kill EVERY insect in large areas, the effect has to filter up the food chain to birds which would eat other birds which ate those insects which were no longer there.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jul, 2006 11:05 am
You jus dont process information like a normal person. You hear and then totally discount

1Its been recounted that the use of DDT was , while initially successful, terminated in the 60's because it NO LONGER WORKED> THE DAMN MOSQUITOES DEVELOPED IMMUNITY . Consequently , before the WHO project was abandoned in the early 60's , a Billion dollars had already been spent and mosquitoes were not being affected anymore. Thats why IPM was begun. (Integrated pest management)


2 Heinz Meng--Doesnt have any credibility in chemical toxicology. HEs an ornothologist who helped in the initial "hcking" programs. Hes allowed his own opinions but theyre wrong. Eagles werent hunted to extinction, their populations were stable while they were being hunted. Their populations plummeted SINCE their protection. .


However, in the main, you agree that DDT/DDE confers resistance in insects.
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jul, 2006 12:03 pm
farmerman wrote:

However, in the main, you agree that DDT/DDE confers resistance in insects.


Sorry, but I do not agree with that. Neither do the African countries which are going to all the trouble to get DDT production restarted.


If insects were developing ANY immunity to DDT it was only from massive and unnecessary overuse of the stuff and the stuff definitely repels mosquitos and keeps them away from human habitats, which is generally all you need.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jul, 2006 03:26 pm
Maybe we can, together , read about sequencing the genetic variation that tags reistance to DDTGenomics Weekly
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spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jul, 2006 05:37 pm
fm-

It would help in rallying us to your obviously virtuous cause if you would explain yourself more clearly.

What does-

Quote:
With the depuration of DDT freom the environment and the breakdown of residual DDT and , more importantly, DDE, the population continued to grow.


actually mean in terms of the action you might be suggesting posters should take.

Could you not fit the female eagles with black fishnet stockings attatched to shiny basques with a lot of buttons up the back,or hooks and eyes if you prefer,by elasticated straps with bows on like Lola demonstrates in Her fantastic and eye-popping avvie.

If a species dies out isn't it because it made some mistakes and we don't want the Lolas to die out. I don't anyway.

Maybe male eagles are getting fed up of the same old routine year in and year out and the absence of novelty in their sex lives.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jul, 2006 07:34 pm
spendi, when we quit using DDT, what was already in the environment began cleanse itself by the DDT breaking down ( it depurated). The blad egles and other birds affected began to recover as their prey had residual DDT and DDE "flushed" from their bodies. The DDE then wasnt of sufficient concentration to cause egg shell thinning. Also , in the US and Britain , EAgles, ospreys, and many falcons were "hacked" which is a term meaning that chicks were taken from nests in the North (where large scale DDT spraying wsnt used and eagles, and peregrines were relatively DDT free and were relatively healthy populations) Hacking started the recovery program in Pa and in 2006, weve celebrated 100 breeding pairs. The thing is, that the DDT is still slightly in the environment and only in the last 6 or so years has there been the occurence of 3 hatched chicks p[er nest in PA..

Gunga is operating under some delusion that quitting DDT was a "communist plot". DDT is still used in a localized application in houses in some African countries. Its just that, when it was used to kill ag pests and mosquitoes in swamps and bodies of water, the larvae began to be selected for a tolerant, then a resistant series of malaria mosquitoes. In some areas, shortly after use began (within 5 years) there was no protection at all and "super mosquitoes" resistant to most organochlorine compounds emerged.
We know why gunga wont buy into this data.Its because that this is a working example of Natural Selection due to environmental stress.(He isnt a fan of evolution, he believes his special friend created everything, or space aliens,I forget which).

Gunga, I dont mean to demean Meng, its just that youve quoted him as an expert in environmental chemistry or toxicology. Hes an important ornithologist but his opinions on "DDT isnt harmful" is like you lecturing us on life on Venus.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Jul, 2006 08:39 pm
Do you mean to say that Gunga ain't a Venusian ? ! ? ! ?

I thought he lived up there with Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa . . .
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Jul, 2006 07:17 am
well, I just assumed that gunga lived in N Pa. I never realized he was a visitor from another world.
0 Replies
 
Heliotrope
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Jul, 2006 02:26 pm
Is it just me that has this weird buzzing in my ears when I try to read some of that tripe ?
0 Replies
 
 

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