As toxins make their way up the food chain, their concentration increases as they are stored in animal fats. This can be especially problematic for animals at the top of the food chain. One of the most dramatic examples of how biomagnification affected a species was the case of DDT and how it affected large predatory birds. Since we have discovered its detrimental affects, DDT has been banned. However, thousands of other chemicals are still being used by people for various applications, and we are still discovering their effects on animals at the top of the food chain.
Mercury intake is another example of biomagnification. It undergoes biomagnification because while intake is rapid, mercury takes much longer to be eliminated from the body, so it builds up. Here’s a diagram that helps explain:
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