At the time, exploration of the deep ocean had hardly begun. Scuba technology was in its infancy, the remotely operated submersible not even a fantasy.
Fish and Wildlife Service employee photo In the mids, Carson became concerned about the use of synthetic pesticides, many of which had been developed through the military funding of science after World War II.
The United States Department of Agriculture's fire ant eradication program, which involved aerial spraying of DDT and other pesticides mixed with fuel oil and included the spraying of private land, prompted Carson to devote her research, and her next book, to pesticides and environmental poisons.
She tried to enlist essayist E. White and a number of journalists and scientists to her cause. ByCarson had arranged a book deal, with plans to co-write with Newsweek science journalist Edwin Diamond.
However, when The New Yorker commissioned a long and well-paid article on the topic from Carson, she began considering writing more than the introduction and conclusion as planned; soon it became a solo project.
Diamond would later write one of the harshest critiques of Silent Spring. From reading the scientific literature and interviewing scientists, Carson found two scientific camps; those who dismissed the possible danger of pesticide spraying barring conclusive proof and those who were open to the possibility of harm and were willing to consider alternative methods, such as biological pest control.
Bythe USDA 's Agricultural Research Service responded to the criticism by Carson and others with a public service film, Fire Ants on Trial; Carson called it "flagrant propaganda" that ignored the dangers that spraying pesticides posed to humans and wildlife.
That spring, Carson wrote a letter, published in The Washington Postthat attributed the recent decline in bird populations—in her words, the "silencing of birds"—to pesticide overuse. Carson attended the ensuing FDA hearings on revising pesticide regulations; she was discouraged by the aggressive tactics of the chemical industry representatives, which included expert testimony that was firmly contradicted by the bulk of the scientific literature she had been studying.
She also wondered about the possible "financial inducements behind certain pesticide programs". Of particular significance was the work of National Cancer Institute researcher and founding director of the environmental cancer section Wilhelm Hueperwho classified many pesticides as carcinogens.
Carson and her research assistant Jeanne Davis, with the help of NIH librarian Dorothy Algire, found evidence to support the pesticide-cancer connection; to Carson the evidence for the toxicity of a wide array of synthetic pesticides was clear-cut, though such conclusions were very controversial beyond the small community of scientists studying pesticide carcinogenesis.
She had investigated hundreds of individual incidents of pesticide exposure and the resulting human sickness and ecological damage. In Januaryshe suffered an illness which kept her bedridden for weeks, delaying the book. As she was nearing full recovery in March, she discovered cysts in her left breast, requiring a mastectomy.
By December that year, Carson discovered that she had breast cancer, which had metastasized. However, further health troubles delayed the final revisions in and early By AugustCarson agreed to the suggestion of her literary agent Marie Rodell: Silent Spring would be a metaphorical title for the entire book—suggesting a bleak future for the whole natural world—rather than a literal chapter title about the absence of birdsong.
The final writing was the first chapter, "A Fable for Tomorrow", which was intended to provide a gentle introduction to a serious topic. By mid, Brooks and Carson had largely finished the editing and were planning to promote the book by sending the manuscript to select individuals for final suggestions.
DDT is a prime example, but other synthetic pesticides—many of which are subject to bioaccumulation —are scrutinized. Carson accuses the chemical industry of intentionally spreading disinformation and public officials of accepting industry claims uncritically.
Most of the book is devoted to pesticides' effects on natural ecosystems, but four chapters detail cases of human pesticide poisoning, cancer, and other illnesses attributed to pesticides.
In laboratory tests on animal subjects, DDT has produced suspicious liver tumors. Scientists of the Food and Drug Administration who reported the discovery of these tumors were uncertain how to classify them, but felt there was some "justification for considering them low grade hepatic cell carcinomas.
The book closes with a call for a biotic approach to pest control as an alternative to chemical pesticides. She said in Silent Spring that even if DDT and other insecticides had no environmental side effects, their indiscriminate overuse was counterproductive because it would create insect resistance to pesticides, making them useless in eliminating the target insect populations: No responsible person contends that insect-borne disease should be ignored.
The question that has now urgently presented itself is whether it is either wise or responsible to attack the problem by methods that are rapidly making it worse. The world has heard much of the triumphant war against disease through the control of insect vectors of infection, but it has heard little of the other side of the story—the defeats, the short-lived triumphs that now strongly support the alarming view that the insect enemy has been made actually stronger by our efforts.
Even worse, we may have destroyed our very means of fighting. Pressure on the pest population should always be as slight as possible. Carson was undergoing radiation therapy for her cancer and expected to have little energy to defend her work and respond to critics.
In preparation for the anticipated attacks, Carson and her agent attempted to amass prominent supporters before the book's release. Douglasa long-time environmental advocate who had argued against the court's rejection of the Long Island pesticide spraying case and had provided Carson with some of the material included in her chapter on herbicides.
Around that time, Carson learned that Silent Spring had been selected as the Book-of-the-Month for October; she said this would "carry it to farms and hamlets all over that country that don't know what a bookstore looks like—much less The New Yorker.
There was another round of publicity in July and August as chemical companies responded. The story of the birth defect-causing drug thalidomide had broken just before the book's publication, inviting comparisons between Carson and Frances Oldham Kelseythe Food and Drug Administration reviewer who had blocked the drug's sale in the United States.
DuPonta major manufacturer of DDT and 2,4-Dand Velsicol Chemical Companythe only manufacturer of chlordane and heptachlorwere among the first to respond. DuPont compiled an extensive report on the book's press coverage and estimated impact on public opinion.
Chemical industry representatives and lobbyists lodged a range of non-specific complaints, some anonymously. Chemical companies and associated organizations produced brochures and articles promoting and defending pesticide use.In Silent Spring, Rachel Carson definitively proves that pesticides do more harm than good.
She details how ineffective most pesticides are, how toxic they've become, and how they've managed to. The most important legacy of Silent Spring, though, was a new public awareness that nature was vulnerable to human intervention.
Carson had made a radical proposal: that, at times, technological.
Sep 23, · On June 4, , less than a year after the controversial environmental classic “Silent Spring” was published, its author, Rachel Carson, testified before a Senate subcommittee on pesticides.
Get this from a library! Silent spring. [Rachel Carson; Lois Darling] -- "An important, controversial account of the way in which man's use of poisons to control insect pests and unwanted vegetation is changing the balance of nature." Booklist. Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, – April 14, ) was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement..
Carson began her career as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the . Silent Spring is an environmental science book by Rachel Carson. The book was published on 27 September and it documented the adverse effects on the environment of the indiscriminate use of regardbouddhiste.com accused the chemical industry of spreading disinformation and public officials of accepting industry claims Author: Rachel Carson.