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Prolonged eggshell thinning caused by DDE in the duck


ALTHOUGH eggshell thinning induced by 2,2-bis-(p-chloro-phenyl)-1,1-dichloroethylene (DDE)—has been studied in many species (see review by Cooke1), the long term effects of this pesticide have not been investigated. Its duration of action is of great environmental significance since it will determine the effect of any pesticide ingested before the breeding season. In this respect, the finding of continuing high levels of DDE and thin eggshells in the Alaskan peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) in areas free from direct spraying2 argues for a prolonged effect, but direct controlled studies have been lacking. In fact, 18 d is the longest period to date during which thinning has been monitored (in mallards given single oral doses of 500–2,000 mg DDE kg−1) and little recovery of shell thickness was observed3.

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  1. 1

    Cooke, A. S., Environ. Pollution, 4, 85–152 (1973).

  2. 2

    Peakall, D. B., Cade, T. J., White, C. M., and Haugh, J., Pesticide Monitoring J. (in the Press).

  3. 3

    Haegele, M. A., and Tuker, R. K., Bull. environ. Contamin. Toxicol., 11, 98–102 (1974).

  4. 4

    Peakall, D. B., Lincer, J. L., Risebrough, R. W., Pritchard, J. B., and Kinter, W. B., Comp. gen. Pharmacol., 4, 305–313 (1973).

  5. 5

    Cade, T. J., Lincer, J. L., White, C. M., Roseneau, D. G., and Swartz, L. G., Science, 172, 955–957 (1971).

  6. 6

    Tucker, R. K., Heagele, M. A., Bull. environ. Contamin. Toxicol., 5, 191–149 (1970).

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