Environmental Science and Technology will publish the results of what researcher, Heidi Geisz of Virginia Institute for Marine Science, found in her study of Antartic penguins. DDT, banned by the US in 1973 and later by most of the world due to the effects found in animal and human health, appears now in the penguin tissues at the same level as found in the 1970s. In fact, tests reveal a “new DDT” which appears to be DDT broken down having a different chemical signature than the original. How could this happen? DDT and other toxic pesticides were never used in this geographical area. Due to climate change and the melting of the glaciers, pesticides which have been locked into the ice are now being released into the water. This is consumed by the krill (small shrimp- like crustraceans) which make up a large part of the penguin’s diet….and there it is! DDT and other toxic pesticides were carried through the atmosphere, deposited on the ice and snow then absorbed by the microbial organisms and locked into the ice. The movement through the ecosystem is clear.
Goodness! One has to wonder other precious creatures on the earth are being affected by changes in the ecosystem due to global warming and climate change.