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AP Exclusive: Study: rare condors harmed by DDT By Jason Dearen, Associated Press





SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- In the coastal redwood forests of central California, scientists trying to unravel the mystery surrounding the reproductive problems of dozens of endangered condors think they have uncovered the culprit: the long-banned pesticide DDT.

The soaring scavengers with wingspans wider than NBA players are tall were reintroduced to the rugged coast of Big Sur in 1997 after a century-long absence. Upon arrival, the birds found plenty to eat, with dead California sea lions and other marine mammals littering the craggy shoreline.

While a good food source, sea lion blubber often has high levels of DDT, a pesticide banned in 1972 that has proven to be a persistent pollutant because it accumulates in bodies of creatures throughout the food chain when animals eat one another.

Once used widely in agriculture, DDT was banned because it is a human toxin considered a possible carcinogen by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ...more



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