The thin eggshell problem

By:  and 
Edited by: J.W. Gillett


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It has long been known that DDT and related chemicals can impair the reproduction of birds. In early years of organochlorine pesticide use, widespread mortality occurred immediately following heavy applications of these chemicals, and survivors contained substantial amounts of toxicant in their tissues. Repopulation from untreated areas tended to conceal the extent of the effects. DDT and dieldrin have become ubiquitous and the original source of the chemicals producing bird deaths often cannot be traced. The extent of sublethal effects cannot be fully appraised, although laboratory experiments continually reveal new and potentially deleterious physiological reactions. Thin eggshells have become prevalent among certain declining species of predatory birds. Shell thinning and associated reproductive effects have been produced experimentally in mallard ducks and in sparrow hawks. Coturnix quail fed dietary dosages of p,p'-DDT produced fewer eggs than did untreated birds and the eggs had thinner shells. Hatchability was not significantly altered. Comparisons between these results and those obtained in other studies indicate significant species differences.
Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title The thin eggshell problem
Year Published 1970
Language English
Publisher Oregon State University
Publisher location Corvallis, Oregon
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 5 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Proceedings of the symposium, the biological impact of pesticides in the environment
First page 31
Last page 35
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