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Silent Spring

From Academic Kids

Silent Spring was written by Rachel Carson and published in the spring of 1962. The book claimed detrimental effects of pesticides on the environment, particularly on birds. Carson accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation, and public officials of accepting industry claims uncritically. She proposed instead an alternative biotic approach to pest control.

Many credit the book with launching the environmentalist movement. Prof. Gary Kroll commented, "Rachel Carson's Silent Spring played a large role in articulating ecology as a "subversive subject"— as a perspective that cut against the grain of materialism, scientism, and the technologically engineered control of nature."

When Silent Spring was published, Rachel Carson was already a well-known writer on natural history, but had not previously been a social critic. The book was widely read, spending several weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, and inspired widespread public concerns with pesticides and pollution of the environment. Silent Spring is credited with the ultimate banning of the pesticide DDT in the United States.

Many including the African American Environmental Association Template:Inote, the Malaria Foundation International,Template:Inote and the Association of American Physicians and SurgeonsTemplate:Inote blame the banning of DDT throughout the world for a resurgence in malaria, causing the deaths of an estimated 88 million people—90% of whom were pregnant mothers and small children.

A symposium on the book and the topics it raises was held in Philadelphia in August 1984, Silent Spring Revisited, a compilation of papers from the symposium was published in 1987.

Contents

The Book's Claims Examined

The book attracted hostile attention from scientists, commentators and the chemical industry. Opposition began even before Houghton Mifflin published the book. The Velsicol Chemical Corportion of Chicago wrote a letter to Houghton Mifflin, proposing cancellation of the book because of "inaccurate and disparaging statements" about two of their products, chlordane and heptachlor.Template:Inote Speaking on behalf of the chemicals industry, Robert White Stevens, a biochemist and assistant director of the Agricultural Research Division of American Cyanamid commented:

The crux, the fulcrum over which the argument chiefly rests, is that Miss Carson maintains that the balance of nature is a major force in the survival of man, whereas the modern chemist, the modern biologist and scientist, believes that man is steadily controlling nature.

One of Carson's controversial claims was that DDT is a carcinogen. This opinion has been accepted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which categorizes DDT as a probable human carcinogen. The US National Toxicology Program's Fifth Annual Report on Carcinogens describes DDT as a "substance which may reasonably be anticipated to be carcinogen." Other studies have failed to corraborate a link between DDT and cancer.[1] (http://www.junkscience.com/ddtfaq.htm) On the contrary:

  • In one study, primates were fed 33,000 times more DDT than the estimated exposure of adult humans in 1969. No conclusive link with cancer was detected.
  • A study of 692 women, half of them control subjects, over a period of twenty years, established no correlation between serum DDE and breast cancer. DDE is a matabolite of DDT, and correlates with DDT exposure.
  • A study examined 35 workers exposed to 600 times the average DDT exposure levels over a period of 9 to 19 years. No elevated cancer risk

was observed.

  • In another study, humans voluntarily ingested 35 mg of DDT daily for about two years, and were then tracked for several years afterward. No elevated risk was observed.

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ja:沈黙の春 zh:寂静的春天

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