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A DDT manufacturing plant that operated on the Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Alabama discharged DDT-Iaden effluent from 1947 to 1970 into a creek on Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. Seven to 9 years after the plant closed, high DDT, DDE, and DDD levels were reported in soils, river sediments, and fish in the area. Eleven of 27 mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) collected on the Refuge during February 1979 had carcass DDE residues that exceeded levels associated with eggshell thinning. DDE residues in a smaller number of mallards exceeded levels associated with egg breakage, poor hatchability, and abnormal hehavior and poor survival of offspring. Several avian species have disappeared from the Refuge since 1950, probably due to both industrial discharges of DDT from the plant and insecticidal use of DDT in the area. The contamination still presents a threat to herons, waterfowl, and raptors including occasional wintering or migrant eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and probably many other avian species. A maternity colony of endangered gray bats (Myotis grisescens) is also threatened by this contamination.
Additional Publication Details
Situation report: Heavy DDT contamination at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge
Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies