Bioamplification is the accumulation of toxic pollutants in an animal.
Toxins can be removed from the bodies of animals through sweating and urination, but these toxins need to be water soluble. DDT, DDE, PCBs, toxaphene, and the organic forms of mercury and arsenic do biomagnify in nature. These substances are consequently known as ‘persistent organic pollutants’ or POPs.
What causes bioamplification?
Pollutants that bioamplify:
– are fat soluble, not water soluble
– accumulate in fatty tissues of animals, do not enter the blood stream (water) for removal
– toxins stay in these fatty tissues for the lifespan of the animal they are in
Amplification of toxins:
– animals low in the food chain acquire a small amount of toxin during feeding
– a secondary consumer will eat a lot of smaller organisms and acquire all the toxin their bodies contained
– a tertiary consumer will eat a lot o secondary consumers and acquire all their toxins they have accumulated
– at each stage of the food chain the concentration of toxin becomes greater
– the higher the trophic level, the greater the concentration of toxins
– pesticides are used to kill other living things, although not designed to hurt humans they have to benefit to human life
– accumulation of toxins in humans will have a negative effect on survival
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