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E-M:/ Fw: (USA)PCB toxicity, birds - (Wisconsin)

Here is some more timely information on PCBs and their effects on wildlife.  This is a Michigan issue in that the discharge is into Green Bay, then into Lake Michigan, then into you and your kids. 
PCBs, the toxic gift that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving.......
David J. Zaber
From: Rabbit Information Service (by way of "Michael B. Harris" <mbharris@execpc.com>)
To: wisc-eco@igc.org
Sent: Monday, May 17, 1999 10:33 AM
Subject: (USA)PCB toxicity, birds - (Wisconsin)

Source: Green Bay News Chronicle [edited]
Date: Wed, 10 May 1999

A report to be released today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
confirms PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) discharged into the Fox River are
causing injuries to birds in Green Bay [Wisconsin, USA]. 

The report, part of the Fox River and Green Bay Natural Resource Damage
Assessment (NRDA), explains how PCBs harm birds, the importance of Green
Bay to birds, the importance of birds to Green Bay and vast amounts of data
collected showing the levels of PCBs accumulated by birds that live in, or
migrate through the area. 

Of 250 species of birds that can be seen in Green Bay, the wildlife service
has comprehensive data on 5 to 10 species, said David Allen, NRDA
specialist for the service. The report uses data collected worldwide on the
effects of polychlorinated biphenyls on birds. 

"Waterfowl, like mallard ducks, can be exposed to a lot of PCBs and not be
affected," Allen said. There are consumption advisories about eating
waterfowl shot along the river and bay, but the birds' health is not
directly impaired except with high levels of PCBs, he added. "Based on
studies, there are enough PCBs to be concerned [about the waterfowl]," he
said. "There is a risk to birds [in other ways]." 

PCBs are causing injuries to terns, Allen said. There are reproductive
injuries so the eggs don't hatch, and some birds are born with deformities
such as backward feet and twisted bills. 

The study shows bald eagles that nest in the interior of Wisconsin have 4
times more success hatching eggs than eagles that live on the bay. 

Inland eagles hatch and fledge an average of 1.2 eggs per nest per year,
compared with 0.3 eggs per nest among Green Bay eagles, Allen said. 

The average needs to be at 1.0 or above for the birds to have a
self-sustaining population, he said. Because of the success of the
hatching/fledging of eagles in the interior of the state means the birds
will not disappear from the state despite the lack of success on the bay.
However, the population could decrease. 

"Green Bay acts like a sink," Allen said. "It's a drain on inland eagles.
Green Bay is a wonderful habitat for eagles, but they are incapable of
breeding here." 

Also, terns are not reproducing well along the bay, he said.
Double-breasted cormorants are doing well, but not as well as they could be
if there were no PCBs, he added. 

"These actual injuries in Green Bay fit with the earlier work of the
worldwide literature," Allen said. "Do PCBs cause deformities and decreased
reproductive success? Yes." 

The report shows the birds are getting the PCBs from Green Bay. Birds were
measured for PCBs when they came to Green Bay, when they were laying eggs,
after the eggs hatched and when they left. Also, the eggs and the food the
birds eat were tested. "The birds measured are getting their PCBs here,"
Allen said.

Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 06:41:40 -0400
Source: State News Service: Wisconsin Headlines [edited]

Hunters may want to think twice before dining on ducks they shoot in the
Green Bay area. The US Fish and Wildlife Service warns toxic
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Bay of Green Bay are hurting ducks
and other birds in the area and may pose a danger to hunters who eat the
birds. The agency studied more than two dozen species of birds inhabiting
the Green Bay area and found high levels of PCBs in all of them.

[Readers may be interested in the following additional reference that
presents data relating blood levels of PCBs in humans as it relates to
amounts of fish and waterfowl consumed in diet. ]

Blood PCB, p,p'-DDE, and mirex levels in Great Lakes fish and waterfowl
consumers in two Ontario communities. Kearney JP; Cole DC; Ferron LA; Weber
P. Environ Res, 1999 Feb, 80:2 Pt 2, S138-S149
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