Persistence of DDT and metabolites in wildlife from Washington state orchards

  • L. J. Blus
  • C. J. Henny
  • C. J. Stafford
  • R. A. Grove


Residues of the DDT group, particularlyp,p′-DDT (DDT) were detected in high or unusual amounts in some wildlife samples collected in fruit orchards near Wenatchee, Washington from 1979 to 1983. Samples of birds containedp,p′-DDE (DDE) and DDT in ratios (DDE:DDT) as low as 2.6:1 in eggs and 1.9:1 in brains. An unexpectedly high number (about 50%) of some samples, such as fat of adult waterfowl, contained unusually low DDE:DDT ratios (≤10:l). At the lower sensitivity level (0.01 μg/g), 96% of the samples contained DDE and 46% contained DDT. From about 1946 to 1970, technical DDT was applied at very high rates to orchards in Washington (56 to 73 kg/ha/yr); some areas probably received 5≥1000 kg/ha over this period. Considerable wildlife mortality from DDT was documented during the period of intensive use, but only one DDT-related mortality was recorded during this study. The possible origin of the residues is discussed. Occurrence of DDT and its metabolites in resident wildlife and its food indicates continuing contamination that probably originates largely from past legal applications in the orchard system.


Waste Water Water Management Water Pollution Lower Sensitivity Sensitivity Level 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. J. Blus
    • 1
  • C. J. Henny
    • 1
  • C. J. Stafford
    • 1
  • R. A. Grove
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServicePatuxent Wildlife Research CenterLaurel

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