Explore its Ecological Impact



is biomagnification?

Biomagnification is the rise or increase in the contaminated substances caused by the intoxicating environment. Basically it’s a built up reaction seen in animals due of the use of pesticide and various chemicals being put in the environment.

causes biomagnification?

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are toxic chemicals that adversely affect human health and the environment. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), one of the so-called POP 'dirty dozen', have been used since the 1930s for a variety of industrial purposes because of their chemical stability.

does biomagnification affect?

It affects all levels of the food chain but in many cases, animals near the top of the food chain are most affected. Due to how the toxins travel they end up affecting every trophic level in some manner.

Biomagnification makes humans more prone to cancer, kidney problems, liver failure, birth defects, respiratory disorders, and heart diseases.

Animals on the top of the food chain are more affected than those lower on the food chain. The toxins can’t be digested so they accumulate within the animals and become more concentrated as you move higher up in the food chain.

PCBs are destroying killer whale populations

In 2017, Scottish researchers found a dead killer whale with one of the highest levels of PCB pollution ever recorded — 100 times greater than the accepted PCB toxicity threshold for marine mammals.

High concentrations of PCBs can cause a range of health issues for orcas, including impaired immune function, increased susceptibility to cancers, and infertility. Plus, these PCBs are not only toxic to the animal itself — they're also transferred through a mother whale’s fat-rich milk when she nurses her calves.


does biomagnification occur?

Biomagnification happens in all ecosystems and food chains. In aquatic ecosystems, toxins get consumed by smaller species like zooplankton, which are in turn consumed by smaller fishes. The toxins then travel through larger fishes and to humans and birds.

are the chemicals causing biomagnification found?


The agricultural pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers and fungicides are very toxic due to them containing small amounts of heavy metals. They are released into the soil, rivers, lakes, and seas, causing health issues in aquatic organisms and humans.

Organic Contaminants

Manures and biosolids are processed industrially and contain contaminants like pharmaceuticals and personal care products. These substances have an adverse impact on the health of humans, animals, and wildlife.

Industrial Activities

The industries and factories release toxic substances that are released into the soil, lakes, oceans, and rivers. The gaseous emissions then pollute the environment which enters into the food chain.


should we care?

Biomagnification is a major threat to humans, aquatic creatures, and the environment as a whole.

As humans, we rely heavily on every animal to help maintain a healthy environment with fresh air, water and land. Each species lost due to human interference can bring us one step closer to irreparable ecological damage.

Animals are an integral part of food systems. Earthworms aerate soil, providing pathways for water and nutrients, while insects such as bees and butterflies contribute as pollinators. Birds and bats help by keeping destructive pests at bay.

Biomagnification almost led to the extinction of the bald eagle

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) entered the bald eagle food chain through organisms at the lowest levels of aquatic food chains, which were then eaten by fish (the main food source for bald eagles). Researchers found the pesticide prevented birds from properly absorbing calcium, which thinned the eggshells causing many eggs to break before they could hatch.

Because birds of prey like eagles typically only lay a few eggs at a time, losing one or two eggs due to shell thinning had a dramatic impact on their populations. Since the ban of DDT, the population of nesting eagle pairs grew from 487 in 1963 to more than 9,700 by 2006.


we do something to help?

Absolutely yes! Sadly a lot of the chemicals and toxins are coming from corporations but there are still things that you can do to support local ecosystems and your health.

Grow Native Plants

You don't need to fill your entire yard but growing native plants is a great way to support your local ecosystem!

Reduce the Use of Pesticides

Grow some plants that naturally repel bugs. Rosemary and Basil are just two of several options!

Don’t Use Rat Poision

Rat poision is a forever chemical. It not only kills rats, but a bird will eat the rat, if it eats too many poisoned rodents the bird will soon die too! The A24 Rat & Mouse Trap is just one alternative.

Pick Up Llitter

Trash that is not where it is supposed to be will break down into microplastics and animals will eat it! Microplastics also are a big cause of biomagnication!

Educate those around you!

By teaching one more person about the issue, it will be one step towards preserving our natural ecosystems

Are you an expert on biomagnification now?

Take a quiz and find out!

  1. 1

    What is biomagnification?

  2. 2

    Which of the following substances is most likely to biomagnify in aquatic food chains?

  3. 3

    Why is biomagnification a concern for environmental and human health?




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