I enjoyed the Feb. 15 news article “ Bald eagle population soars,” except for the paragraph that contained a reference to the “near fatal blow” in the bald eagles’ decline in North America. This was a reference to the alleged negative effects of DDT on birds, chronicled in Rachel Carson’s environmental activist book, “Silent Spring.”
The original experiment concluded that the pesticide DDT was responsible for thinning eggshells in raptor eggs, but a subsequent experiment rerun with more realistic levels of calcium in the subject birds’ diet came to no such conclusion. Also, during the period of heavy DDT use in the United States, raptor and other bird populations continued to increase, according to Audobon Society surveys at that time. It doesn’t take much effort to locate a number of other studies that refuted the initial conclusions of the effects of DDT.
The banning of DDT has resulted in the deaths of literally millions of people worldwide due to malaria, something that is rarely mentioned alongside references to that early, flawed experiment.