Why did they use DDT?

During a nighttime robbery, the horn of a 120-year-old stuffed rhinoceros was stolen, from the museum where it was displayed. Museum authorities warned that using this horn as a traditional medicine on the Asian black market could have lethal consequences because it was preserved by the use of the deadly arsenic and DDT.

But causing immidiate death should not be the only concern. The fact that DDT is still in use is really alarming, since it is a substance that causes accumulation. As an environmental term, accumulation is the gradual increase of pollutants in living organisms by direct adsorption or through food chains. The pollutants that cause accumulation cannot be metabolized or aborted by any means, so accumulation of the substance increases while going up a food chain.

DDT in particular, was used in Africa during the 60's, as a insecticide against the mosquito that causes malaria. It was later found that huge quantities of DDT existed in many african species. The most surprising part of the research was that DDT existed in penguins of Antarctica and in Eskimo's mother milk! It was decided to substitute DDT with other pesticides, but accumulation had already harmed wild animals. The egg-shells of wild birds become extremely vulnerable due to this substance, slowing down the pace of reproduction.

DDT is only an example. There are many other substances known to cause accumulation, but still used in every day life. The fact that it was once banned doesn't seem to pay off, since it is still used by museums. Moreover, we should really do something about it, even those who don't care about other species. For the simple reason that human usually feeds on species from many food chains, and thus receives those substances.

Forum Topic: Stuffed rhino loses horn to thieves


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