Presentation on theme: "Early Victories: Winning the DDT Battle and Founding EDF"— Presentation transcript:
1 Early Victories: Winning the DDT Battle and Founding EDF Charles F. Wurster Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, Marine Sciences Research Center, State University of New York at Stony Brook
2 Lecture Outline Developing problems, especially for birds Properties of DDTToxicity mechanismsFounding of Environmental Defense Fund, EDFAchieving the ban on DDTThe birds recover
3 Problems soon developed. DDT first synthesized in 1874 as lab curiosity.Mueller discovered insecticidal properties in 1939, won Nobel Prize.World War II – DDT effective against Typhus and Malaria, helped win war. DDT was not thoroughly tested, but it was wartime! It did not kill people.Post-WWII, 1947: DDT into widespread use for numerous insect problems.Problems soon developed.
4 Early Problems with DDT 1949 – “Nightmarish” insect control problems in Canyete Valley, Peru.DDT destroyed natural enemies and resistance developedrapidly.1948 – Dutch elm disease spraying = dead birds in Princeton, NJ.1950s – Reproductive failure in Western Grebes, Clear Lake, CA1950s – Declining raptor populations in Europe, N America.Osprey, Peregrine, Golden Eagle, Eurasian Sparrowhawk,others, suffering mortality and reproductive failure.
5 Western GrebesDDD at 14, 20, and 20 ppb was added to lake to control gnats. Grebes dropped from 1,000 pairs to 15 by Fatty tissues contained ppm (35,000x higher than what was added to the lake).Earliest case of biological concentration.
6 American Woodcock1950s – Reproductive failure in New Brunswick, Canada. Forests sprayed with DDT had lower reproductive success than unsprayed areas..
7 Osprey 1938-1965 – Reproductive failure in the Eastern USA S Connecticut: 200 pairs in 1938, dropped to 12 pairs in 1965Long Island, NJ populations in steep decline.Young Per NestDDT in Eggs (ppm)Normal2.3-Maryland1.13.0Connecticut0.55.1
8 Bald Eagle1940s-1970Declining reproductive success and populations in Lower 48.DDT and Dieldrin found in all eagles and eggs analyzed. Eggs averaged10 ppm DDT, less Dieldrin.
9 Eurasian Sparrowhawks - Declining population, egg breakage, egg eating, in Eurasian Sparrowhawk.DDE and Dieldrin present in eggs, adult fatty tissues, and chicks.
10 Peregrine Falcon1940s – 1970s – world’s fastest bird, favorite of falconry.Severe reproductive failure, N America andEurope, broken eggs, egg eating, extinctionE of Rockies, became rare in West.Madison Conference documenteddecline, produced book, blamed “pesticides.”DDT and/or Dieldrin considered most likelycause, substantial circumstantial evidence, notproof.
11 1950-1970 - Other species with reproduction problems: Brown Pelicans laid “omelets,” 50% shell thinning, produced no chicks on Channel Islands off LA. Montrose Chemical Co.!Golden Eagles in Scotland, probably from Dieldrin in sheep dips.Bermuda Petrel in North Atlantic.Herring Gull in Great Lakes. Lesbian Gulls.Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, Barn Owl, Buzzard, Merlin, Hen Harrier, Sandwich TernInadequate data for conclusions.Note: All above birds are carnivores.No herbivores.
12 1948-1970 – Direct mortality of songbirds from – Direct mortality of songbirds from widespread spraying for Dutch elm disease, especially in MI, WI, IL, NH Killed millions of birds, did not save elm trees – “Silent Spring” Other problems with DDT, Dieldrin - Mortality, reduced reproduction in fish; phytoplankton; carcinogenesis. - Frequent failure at insect control, often makes pest problems worse through resistance, mortality of pest parasites and predators.
13 Properties of DDT Persistence (stability) DDT very stable in environment. DDE is more so. DDE causes thin-shelled eggs, is carcinogenic.
14 Properties of DDT 2. Mobility Vapor pressure very low, but not zero. Water solubility very low, but not zero.Co-distils from wet surfaces.Enters air and water circulation patterns.Falls in the rain.Contaminates most higher organisms, all people,even Antarctic penguins.Once released, is uncontrollable.
15 Properties of DDT 3. Solubility Characteristics Water insoluble, lipid (fat) soluble.Partitions from inorganic environment into lipid-containing organisms.Biological concentration, builds up in food chains.Carnivores receive highest concentrations.
16 Properties of DDT 4. Biological Activity – DDT and DDE are biologically active by several mechanisms.a. Acute toxicity, blocks sodium channels in nerve axons,leads to tremors and death at sufficiently high dosage.Kills insects, songbirds following Dutch elm disease spraying.b. Estrogenic, male gulls disinterested in breeding,lesbian females.c. Enzyme induction in liver. Broad spectrum enzyme break downtoxicants plus female sex hormones. Affects Ca metabolism.d. Enzyme inhibition, especially Ca-ATPase in oviduct.e. Carcinogenic, DDE causes cancer in lab animals.
17 ConclusionsDDT/DDE are stable, travel about the world, partition into organisms, concentrate in food chains, and are biologically active.Dieldrin, other organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, phthalate ester plasticizers, many other chemicals contaminate our ecosystems.Effects of most are unknown.Results with DDT/DDE for birds:Acute mortality and reproductive failure.
19 Peregrine eggshell thicknesses, UK, 1900-1970, 20% thinner after 1947. Sparrowhawk eggshell thicknesses, UK, , 16% thinner after 1947.Ratcliffe, Nature 215, 208 (1967) – Eggshell thicknesses in UK,
20 - Golden Eagle eggshells thinned by 8% after 1947. Hickey & Anderson (1968) showed 18% eggshell thinning inPeregrines in North America. Similar thinning in Bald Eagles, other raptors. As in Europe, thin shells started 1947.Coincidence?DDT introduced widely into World environment,Other variables also present: radiation, other pesticides, PCBs, dieldrin, heptachlor…Controlled feeding studies (Wiemeyer & Porter 1969) with kestrels, ducks, confirmed that p-p’-DDE causes thin-shelled eggs. Other chemicals do not.Raptors, ducks, a few others similarly affected.Gallinaceous birds are not.
21 How does p,p’-DDE cause thin-shelled eggs? Avian oviductCO2 + H2O H+ + HCO3- + Ca CaCO3Theories:1. Hepatic enzyme induction involving estrogen breakdown. Medullary bone.2. Carbonic anhydrase inhibition.3. Inhibition of CaATPase, an enzyme that is different for each species.4. Inhibition of prostaglandin synthetase.Theories 3 and/or 4 most likely explanation, but mechanism complex, may vary among birds, remains unsettled.
22 DDT banned June 1972 by William Ruckelshaus, The Battle to Ban DDTDartmouth College, Hanover, NH,Stony Brook, NY,Suffolk County Mosquito Control CommissionEnvironmental Defense Fund (EDF) founded 1967Michigan, , DDT and DieldrinWisconsin,Washington, DC,Petition to USDA and HEW, combined as EPAUS Court of Appeals, DCSurvived standing three timesCourt ordered EPA hearing, judicial rules of evidence,more than 100 witnesses, 8 months.DDT banned June 1972 by William Ruckelshaus,first Administrator of EPA.
23 Dieldrin and Aldrin banned by Russell Train, EPA Administrator, 1974. Dieldrin kills birds, fish, everything else.Dieldrin is carcinogenic.Dieldrin litigation focused on carcinogenesis.Dieldrin and Aldrin banned by Russell Train,EPA Administrator, 1974.
24 Following DDT Ban, Birds Recovered Peregrine FalconThe Peregrine Fund established 1970, Boise, IdahoNesting pairs lower 48:1940s = 1,500== 1,200“Let there be no doubt: the banning of DDT in 1972 was the singlemost important action taken to ensure the survival and recoveryof the Peregrine Falcon in North America. Without it, we would nothave celebrated the delisting of the American Peregrine in 1999,for it made possible everything good that happened to the Peregrinein the last decades of the 20th Century.”The Peregrine Fund, Return of the Peregrine, 2003, p. 18
25 Bald EagleIn Lower 48 States:487 pairs in 19639,789 pairs in 2006Removed from Endangered Species list, 1995Many other species, including Osprey, Brown Pelican, Cooper’s Hawk, and Bermuda Petrel declined sharply until 1972, have recovered dramatically since 1972.