Dead birds spur cleanup of longstanding DDT contamination

Capital News Service
LANSING — When residents of St. Louis described the death of birds in their small mid-Michigan community, Matt Zwiernik recalled studies by another Michigan State University scientist more than 50 years earlier. “It was exactly as George Wallace described it,” said Zwiernik, director of the university’s Wildlife Toxicology Laboratory. “They had tremors and seizures and they were fluttering on the ground as if they had a broken wing or were taking a dust bath.”

And they soon died. Wallace was the MSU ornithologist whose research into how the insecticide DDT killed birds was cited by Rachel Carson in her landmark book Silent Spring.