Colorado

Jul 28, 2010 10:39 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Household chemicals eyed as cause of duck deaths

Chemicals found in household cleaners, detergents, and fabric softeners are suspected of playing a role in the deaths of hundreds of ducks in Denver in 2007 and 2008.

A study by the U.S. Geological Survey found the ducks were exposed to a class of chemicals known as surfactants that may have compromised the ducks' ability to shed water off their feathers. Many of the ducks died during the winter from hypothermia or drowning because of a change in the physical makeup of their feathers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asked for the study after an abnormally high number of birds were discovered dead near several wastewater treatment plants. Avian flu and other causes were immediately ruled in the only mass duck die-off its kind nationally.

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