Before we look at bioaccumulation of pesticides in fish and water, let us first understand what is bioaccumulation. This is the buildup of harmful and toxic substances in an organism where the substance enters the organism through respiration, food intake, through contact or any other means. As a result the organism has higher concentrations of the substance compared to the surrounding environment.
Fish and water bodies around the US offer not only food to people but also act as a means of generating employment and money for thousands. In addition, water bodies provide a means of entertainment where people can enjoy swimming, recreational boating, sport fishing or just relax and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty.
Unfortunately fish and water bodies are in grave danger because of bioaccumulation of pesticides. Many types of fish and different aquatic ecosystems have been adversely affected by pesticides which end up being suspended in water and binding with soil particles thereby making the water and soil particles unavailable to aquatic life.
Some pesticides present in the water can be in small quantities. However, these pesticides can easily build up as they pass through the food chain. For example, there is a particular pesticide present in small quantities in the water. It is absorbed by the plants in the water and these plants, in turn, are eaten by insects and minnows. Here the pesticides has entered the plants and from into other living organisms. But what is frightening is that at eat stage of the food chain, the concentration of the pesticide increases.
Why is bioaccumulation of pesticides in fish and water so dangerous? One is that if the pesticides are lethal, they can kill the entire ecosystem. The other is that the pesticides can enter humans due to high concentration of the same in aquatic life which is consumed by humans.
In addition, pesticides in small doses can change the behavior, reproductive cycle, lower tolerance to extreme temperatures, cause weight loss, reduce resistance to disease, cause hormonal changes and reduce the ability of the fish to avoid predators. Basically even in low quantities, pesticides present in water can reduce the population and adult fish survival rate.
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