Embryonic development is already disturbed at concentrations 10 times lower than the norm for human consumption.
Dioxin-like contaminants such as PCB’s are probably playing a key role in the extinction of the eel. Embronyic development in this species is halted at dioxin concentrations 10 times below the levels for human consumption. This discovery was made by a team of biologists, led by Guido van den Thillart, who are conducting research in Leiden into the sexual maturity and reproduction of the eel. To date, the search for the causes of the reduction in the numbers of eels have concentrated mainly on quantitative factors, such as over-fishing. The researchers published their findings on 1st March in the journal Naturwissenschaften.
The eel is on the point of extinction. Since the fifties, the number of eels has declined sharply. The influx of elvers, young eels which swim from the ocean up river, in recent years is less than 1% of the level in 1950. It was in the fifties that dioxins started to appear in the environment.
Hilje Papma | alfa
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